Risk Cactors for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Previously published in Examiner

Part 3 of the abdominal aortic aneurysm series

The Montreal Neurological Institute is a world renown research center and hospital specializing in the diseases of the brain.

One of the scariest conditions to think about is having a brain aneurysm. Many Montrealers automatically think death when they think aneurysm, but how many people actually know what a brain aneurysm is?

What many Montrealers do not know is that there are different types of aneurysms; but today we will be talking about an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

High blood pressure

If high blood pressure is left uncontrolled it weakens and damages the arteries and thus increases the chances of developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm.


Vasculitis which is infection or inflammation in the arteries, can lead to an abdominal aortic aneurysm because vasculitis weakens the aortic wall. However, this condition is very rare.

Types of aortic aneurismsAbdominal aortic aneurysms are found in the lower part of the aorta
Thoracic aortic aneurysm are found in the upper part of the aorta
Thoracoabdominal aneurysms are found somewhere in between. Thoracoabdomina aneurysms are very rare.

Risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysms


People who are 60 years of age and older are at risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms


Men are more at risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. However, women are more at risk for a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm when they do develop them.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm are more common among Caucasians than any other race.

Family history

If there is a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms there is a risk for developing the disease. Also, it has been noted that family members will develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm much younger than the general public and they are more at risk for the abdominal aortic aneurysm rupturing.


The longer a person has been a smoker, the higher the risk for developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

High blood pressure

Since high blood pressure will weaken and damages blood vessels, having high blood pressure increases the risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms.


The buildup of fatty plaque that damages the lining of the blood vessels is also a contributing factor for developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

If you suspect you may have an abdominal aortic aneurysm or there is a family tie to abdominal aortic aneurysm, please go for screening especially if you are 60 years of age or older.