Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Avoid Type of Aneurysm with Good Diet, Exercise

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Avoid Type of Aneurysm with Good Diet, Exercise

Article excerpt

Dear Doctor K: I had pain in my abdomen, so my doctor did an ultrasound to check for gallstones. It turns out I have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. What is that?

Dear Reader: The aorta is the body's largest artery. It carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to every part of the body. The aorta curves out of the heart and through the chest, then passes down the center of the body before dividing into the arteries that serve the legs.

An aneurysm is an abnormal swelling and weakening in an artery. An aneurysm that occurs in the aorta as it passes through the middle of the body is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

Like other blood vessels, the aorta can develop atherosclerosis. Harmful cholesterol-filled plaques form, damaging and weakening the artery wall. The constant pressure of blood flowing through the aorta -- which is worse in people with high blood pressure -- can cause the artery's wall to bulge where there is a weak spot. …

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