Summer welcomes warmer temperatures and the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some heart-healthy activities. It’s a great time to take advantage of the season with hiking, walking or outdoor sports— not only are these activities fun, but they can help reduce the risk for circulation disorders. Now is the time to commit to exercise and a heart-healthy lifestyle, before you become another casualty of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA).
AAA’s Harsh Consequences
Srinivas Iyengar, M.D. of Bradenton Cardiology Center explains, “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms can occur due to aortic expansion in the area right before this vessel branches off to the iliac arteries that distribute oxygenated blood to the legs, and can sometimes involve the arteries that supply the kidneys as well.” Patients with an AAA can experience little to no symptoms. Pain or discomfort in this area is a warning sign that often goes unnoticed. Sometimes, the aneurysm isn’t detected until imaging techniques during a routine physical examination reveal the anomaly.
Iyengar adds, “AAA is especially problematic if not diagnosed early. It can lead to bigger problems if left unchecked.” Aortic ruptures are almost always fatal.
Know Your Risk Factors and What to Do About Them
“Genetics deserve considerable attention when it comes to cardiovascular conditions, including AAA,” says Iyengar. “Any family history of a cardio-vascular disease can increase your chances of developing a circulation disorder.” And according to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the fatty build up of the arteries or atherosclerosis cause most abdominal aortic aneurysms. It’s also critical to keep an eye on a few lifestyle factors:
•If you smoke, quit
•Lower your high blood pressure
•Manage your cholesterol levels
•Get outside and exercise
•Eat a heart-healthy diet
Your Hard-Working Heart
The arterial buildup associated with atherosclerosis and aneurysms can cause a number of cardiovascular problems. Aortic rupture can be lethal. This is why good cardiovascular health is instrumental in preventing arterial disease in any part of the body. Iyengar concludes, “The heart pumps life-giving blood through the body each and every day — it never takes a vacation! We depend on it so much, and this is why we need to return the favor and work hard to keep it healthy.”