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10 Common Symptoms of Brain Aneurysm

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An aneurysm does not display symptoms until it becomes ruptured, which means a weakness or bulge occurs in a blood vessel in your brain and fills with blood. When this happens, you typically experience a sudden and severe headache. One like you have never had before.

Various medications and procedures can control your blood pressure and possibly prevent an aneurysm from rupturing. However, once it ruptures, you must seek emergency medical care.

Symptom 1: Severe Headache

Did you suddenly have a severe headache? Like you were struck by thunder and lightning? Is it the worst headache of your life?

Usually, the headache is localized to a specific area and does not affect your entire head. With this headache, you could also have pain above or behind your eyes.

Symptom 2: Blurred Vision

Is your vision blurred or doubled? Are your pupils dilated?

Once an aneurysm grows, it can put pressure on your normal brain tissue and nerves, causing problems with your vision.

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Symptom 3: Losing Consciousness

Did you faint or lose consciousness? When pressure from the blood leaking into your brain from a ruptured aneurysm builds up, you may lose consciousness or have a seizure. You could die from a ruptured aneurysm. 

Here’s Lauren Marks’ experience: “After I had collapsed in an Edinburgh bar while singing karaoke, and the medics had taken me away in an ambulance, my friends called my parents in the United States. It was the middle of the night in Edinburgh, but early evening in Los Angeles, and no one was overly worried about my fall from the stage, since it appeared I was suffering a simple concussion. That all changed two hours after my hospital admission—when the results of my CT scan showed the actual crisis unfolding. An aneurysm had ruptured in my brain and the hemorrhage was spreading. A neuroradiologist explained to my parents how precarious my situation was—how often people died the instant an aneurysm ruptured, and even after treatment, only slightly more than half of these patients actually survive the next few days. With every second being critical, the doctor was preparing for an emergency operation.”

Symptom 4: Stiff Neck

Is your neck stiff and painful? According to emedicinehealth.com, “Blood leaking from a ruptured aneurysm into the cerebrospinal fluid causes inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain, resulting in a stiff and painful neck.”

One patient who suffered an aneurysm stated on MedicineNet.com: “I suffered a brain aneurysm the night of January 3. One minute I was standing up in my living room and the next minute I woke up in my husband's arms throwing up non-stop. My neck was aching terribly. I never had the headaches or any type of symptom that this was going to happen to me. I stayed in ICU for five days.”

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Symptom 5: Seizure

As an aneurysm grows, it can put pressure on your normal brain tissue or nerves, causing a seizure.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “If you're with someone who complains of a sudden, severe headache or who loses consciousness or has a seizure, call 911 or your local emergency number. Brain aneurysms develop as a result of thinning artery walls. Aneurysms often form at forks or branches in arteries because those sections of the vessel are weaker. Although aneurysms can appear anywhere in the brain, they are most common in arteries at the base of the brain.”

Symptom 6: Nausea

Do you feel nauseated? Possibly because of a headache? A ruptured aneurysm can make you feel nauseated.

According to an article on MedicineNet.com, a patient stated: “Then I started feeling nauseous all the time. The day I was taken to the hospital, I felt the most unbearable pain in my head and I knew it was brain aneurysm.” 

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Symptom 7: Bleeding

If a brain aneurysm ruptures, bleeding occurs in the subarachnoid section surrounding your brain, causing a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Usually, the aneurysm heals, the bleeding ends, and you survive. However, in serious cases, the bleeding can cause brain damage or death.

According to the American Stroke Association, “About 1.5 to 5 percent of the general population has or will develop a cerebral aneurysm. About 3 to 5 million people in the United States have cerebral aneurysms, but most are not producing any symptoms. Between 0.5 and 3 percent of people with a brain aneurysm may suffer from bleeding.”

Symptom 8: Dizziness

Do you feel dizzy? Like you are going to faint? An aneurysm can make you feel dizzy.

On MedicineNet.com, a patient stated: “I felt dizzy and lay down on the floor. And passed out. My teacher called 911 and I was ambulanced to the hospital. I had a CT scan and taken immediately to surgery. They clipped the aneurysm and I was in neuro-ICU for almost three weeks. Brain surgery is not for sissies, but I am 100% recovered! When in doubt, go to the emergency room!”

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Symptom 9: Light Sensitivity

Have you become more sensitive to lights and the sun?

It is referred to as photophobia. Such visual disturbances can be related to an aneurysm.

Symptom 10: Vomiting

Does a headache or nausea become so intense that you need to vomit?

According to an article on Everydahealth.com, “Dawn Mureddu was using a new piece of equipment at the gym near her home in Johnston, Rhode Island, when she felt a weird pain in the back of her head. Somehow, she managed to finish her hour-long session. Back home, she went upstairs to shower and started seeing double. The pain in her head, the vomiting, and the double vision were all warning signs…of a brain aneurysm that had ruptured.”

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