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What to know about an aortic aneurysm, the cause of death of Grant Wahl

grant wahlThe wife of doctor Celine Gounder revealed this Wednesday to CBS News that the renowned soccer journalist died on Friday at the World Cup in Qatar due to a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

“It’s just one of these things that had probably been building for years, and for whatever reason it happened at this point,” Gounder told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King in her first interview since her husband’s death. at the age of. of 49

An aortic aneurysm is a balloon-shaped bulge in the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body, “sort of like a trunk of all the blood vessels,” said Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and CBS News medical contributor. An aortic aneurysm can “dissect” or, as in Wahl’s case, rupture.

A rupture is when an aneurysm ruptures completely, causing life-threatening internal bleeding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Explain. A dissection is when the blood being pumped splits the layers of the artery wall, causing blood to leak.

“Although aortic aneurysms do not directly cause death, complications arising from an aneurysm, such as dissection or rupture, cause approximately 15,000 deaths a year” in the US, says the aortic center at Columbia University. He notes that they are “more common in men older than 60.”

Aneurysms can develop anywhere along the length of the aorta, but most occur in the abdomen area, where they are often slow-growing and difficult to detect. Mayo Clinic says.

“Some aneurysms never rupture,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Many start small and stay small. Others grow over time, sometimes quickly.”

Lifestyle and family history may play a role in the risk of an aortic aneurysm, which is seen more often in men, people older than 65, smokers, and people with high blood pressure, as well as those who have a history of relatives, according to cleveland clinic.

“Smoking is the most important behavior related to aortic aneurysm,” says the CDC.

People often don’t know they have one, as there are usually no symptoms until it ruptures. Once it does, someone may experience a rapid pulse, lightheadedness or dizziness, and sudden severe back or abdominal pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

When symptoms are present before a rupture, they can include shortness of breath, feeling full even after small meals, pain at the site of the aneurysm, swelling of the neck, face, or arms, as well as pain when swallowing.

According to the CDC, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms in men who are 65 to 75 years old and have smoked.

The Mayo Clinic advises people to exercise, eat healthy, not smoke, and keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control to help prevent an aortic aneurysm or prevent an existing one from getting worse.

“Finding an aortic aneurysm before it ruptures offers the best chance of recovery,” the Cleveland Clinic says.

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