Last week the Boston Celtics announced that forward Jeff Green will miss the 2012 season due to an aortic aneurysm, set to be operated on next month. Jeff is lucky. An estimated million other Americans have aortic aneurysms, but most don’t know it, and their first symptom may be their last.
In yesterday’s NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms: Ticking Time Balloons, I describe the development of the most common form of the condition, a ballooning of the thumb-width main artery that runs down through our trunk. Rupture is usually the first and only clinical manifestation, excruciating pain typically accompanying death within minutes as you bleed out into your abdominal cavity.
Older male smokers are at highest risk and should be screened with an abdominal ultrasound, but the majority of sufferers don’t fit the conventional mold. So in today’s video, How To Help Prevent Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, I profile a study from Mount Sinai of no less than 3.1 million people that attempted to uncover what we could do—in addition to not smoking—to reduce our risk. They found that eating meat just 2 to 4 times a month appeared to significantly increase one’s risk, but the good news is that daily fruit and vegetable consumption may cut our odds of developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm in half.
-Michael Greger, M.D.