An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is an enlarged area in the aorta, the major blood vessel that runs through the center of your chest and abdomen. AAA can be extremely dangerous, and if ruptured, can cause massive internal bleeding, resulting in death.
Often referred to as “the silent illness,” AAA usually comes without any warning signs. Screening is imperative in finding an AAA and treating it early.
Here’s the good news! You could be eligible for a free screening.
- A man age 65-75 years of age who has smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your life?
- A man or woman with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should request your free AAA screening from your doctor. You are eligible for this free, one-time screening as part of your Welcome to Medicare physical.
An Ultrasound is the test used in screening for AAA.
If an aneurysm is found, it is then up to both you and your doctor to decide how to proceed. Some small aneurysms are non-life threatening and do not require immediate surgery, while others do require surgery to repair the area.
Are you at Risk?
Each year, around 200,000 people in the United States alone are diagnosed with AAA. Could you be at risk?
High blood pressure, family history, and a history of smoking increase your risk of developing an AAA. Men are also more prone to this disease than women.
Signs and Symptoms
Often silent, many AAAs show no signs or symptoms. However, if you have sudden, severe back pain or abdominal pain, these are most likely signs of a ruptured AAA and you should call 911 immediately.