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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Miranda

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are ballooning bulges in the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lower extremities. Stiffening, inflammation and calcification with oxidized cholesterol cause the blood vessel walls to loose their ability to appropriately stretch and recoil as pressurized blood flows along the artery with each heart beat. The increased pressure within the vessel may cause the weakened walls to bulge and, in some cases, rupture.

Unfortunately, rupture of an aortic aneurysm is often the first presented symptom and is often fatal. Male smokers over 65 are at the highest risk for developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Quitting smoking is the best way to prevent an aneurysm from forming, but changes in diet, such as minimizing or eliminating meat consumption, eating nuts daily and increasing fruit and vegetable intake may also be helpful in prevention of aortic aneurysms.


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