'Walking time bombs': Young and fit also at risk from aneurysm


Posted at Nov 10 2017 04:13 PM

MANILA - Young people who are leading active lifestyles are not spared from the risk of having an aneurysm, or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain, a neurologist said Friday.

Actress Isabel Granada's sudden death due to aneurysm came as a surprise to many as the 41-year old pilot seemed young and fit for her age.

But death due to aneurysm "is not uncommon," John Jerusalem Tiongson, a neurologist from the Medical City, told ANC's Headstart.

So far, there is "no local data" on the number of aneurysm cases, but worldwide estimates show between 1.5 to 5 percent of each country's population may suffer from it, Tiongson said.

"Anybody can have aneurysm especially in the age group of 40-60.
That's the most common age. Many of them, almost half of them will die," he said.

Tiongson said symptoms of aneurysm include headache, doubling of vision, nausea, and vomiting but these usually surface only when the blood vessel "is about to rupture."

"We can be having an aneurysm right now but we won't know unless we have it checked. People with aneurysm are like walking time bombs," he said.

Though genetics may play a role in aneurysm cases, Tiongson said lifestyle is a big factor that may either lower or heighten the risk.

People who live very "Western lifestyles" suchs as eating too many burgers, fries, and bacon, and at the same time do not exercise are at risk, he said.

Those with hypertension, diabetes, and people who smoke and drink excessively are also prone to having aneurysms.

There are also cases of teens with aneurysm. These are primarily minors who take cocaine and methamphetamine, Tiongson said.

"When you take them, they go into the bloodstream, go to your brain and irritate the lining of your blood vessels. Because of that, the walls weaken and balloon out. Once they balloon out, the wall gets thinner and can pop anytime," he said.

Aside from avoiding vices and eating nutritious food, having an angiogram will help detect aneurysm in its early stages.

"Those who receive intervention from a stroke team within 24 hours have higher chances of survival, but not all hospitals have a stroke team," he said.

Tiongson said there were no medical studies that prove that wetting the feet first when taking a shower can lower the risk of aneurysm.

"That's fake news. Nothing bad will happen if you follow it, but it will not stop the aneurysm," he said.