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Is abdominal aortic aneurysm a hereditary disease?

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Posted on Sat, 31 May 2014
Question: Hi
If I am a 47 year old women with no other health issues that cause an aortic (AAA) but both of my parents passed away from that disease, could I still get it? They were both in their 60's and smoked, my Dad didn't have high blood pressure but my Mom did. I am not overweight, don't smoke, exercise daily and don't have high blood pressure or other diseases.
Thanks
doctor
Answered by Dr. Rovena Murati (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
The only risk factor you have is family history.

Detailed Answer:
Hello!
I read carefully your query and understand your concern.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a localized dilatation of the abdominal aorta exceeding the normal diameter by more than 50 percent, and is the most common form of aortic aneurysm.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms often grow slowly and usually without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Some aneurysms will never rupture. Many start small and stay small, although many expand over time.

The exact reason why an aneurysm forms in the aorta in most cases is not clear but a number of factors may play a role including:
1)Aging has a major role to play because most instances occur in older people.
An AAA is rare in people under the age of 60.
2)Family history. People who have a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm are at increased risk of having the condition.
3) Atherosclerosis which occurs when fat and other substances build up on the lining of a blood vessel, increasing your risk of an aneurysm.
Certain risk factors increase the chance of atherosclerosis and this way the chance of AAA.
They include: smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, raised cholesterol level, taking little exercise, and obesity.
4)Being male because men develop abdominal aortic aneurysms much more often than women do.

So you are a women,47 years old,don't smoke,don't have high blood pressure,not overweight,adequate physical activity.
The only risk factor for AAA that you have is family history.These doesn't mean that because your parent's had AAA you are going to have it too but these means that you have a risk a little bit higher than people who their parent's doesn't had AAA.
Genetics is not in your hand and the only thing you can do is to avoid all other risk factors.With this I mean:
-Eat healthy food mostly green vegetables and drink plenty of fluids.
-Control your weight.
-Keep exercising as you do now.
-Measure your blood pressure once in a while.
-Don't ever smoke.

I suggest that every 6 months - 1 year do a regularly check-up that include :
-Physical examination
-Lipidic profile in blood
-Blood sugar
-Blood pressure measurement.

And every year do an abdominal ultrasound scan to exclude AAA.
An ultrasound scan is the easiest way to detect an AAA. This is a painless test. It is the same type of scan that pregnant women have to look at the baby in the womb so it is safe for you.
In this way AAA is excluded and you can rest your mind of thinking constantly that you may have AAA.

Hope I was able to help you.
Let me know if you have further questions.

Wish you good health.

Dr.Rovena Murati


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Rovena Murati (20 minutes later)
Thank You. I always feel a "heart beat" near my navel and I had an ultra sound done about 4 years ago to rule out AAA, but I worry it could've been missed. Or maybe too small and its grown. My father's dissected and he hadn't known of it.
I'll follow your advice. XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Rovena Murati (12 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
This sensation is probably due to your fear.

Detailed Answer:
Dear Beth!

I can understand that you have these fears,it is normal because AAA is a life-threatening condition and it can be really scary.
That's why you have this feeling of pulsation near your navel because you think all time you may have AAA.
If you do an abdominal ultrasound every year to exclude AAA,the doctor that will perform this examination will be very careful to see your abdominal aorta and not miss nothing.

Hope it helps.
If you have further questions please feel free to ask me.If not you can close the discussion and please rate the answer.

Best Regards.
Dr.Rovena
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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Answered by
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Dr. Rovena Murati

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2013

Answered : 1243 Questions

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Is abdominal aortic aneurysm a hereditary disease?

Brief Answer: The only risk factor you have is family history. Detailed Answer: Hello! I read carefully your query and understand your concern. Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a localized dilatation of the abdominal aorta exceeding the normal diameter by more than 50 percent, and is the most common form of aortic aneurysm. Abdominal aortic aneurysms often grow slowly and usually without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Some aneurysms will never rupture. Many start small and stay small, although many expand over time. The exact reason why an aneurysm forms in the aorta in most cases is not clear but a number of factors may play a role including: 1)Aging has a major role to play because most instances occur in older people. An AAA is rare in people under the age of 60. 2)Family history. People who have a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm are at increased risk of having the condition. 3) Atherosclerosis which occurs when fat and other substances build up on the lining of a blood vessel, increasing your risk of an aneurysm. Certain risk factors increase the chance of atherosclerosis and this way the chance of AAA. They include: smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, raised cholesterol level, taking little exercise, and obesity. 4)Being male because men develop abdominal aortic aneurysms much more often than women do. So you are a women,47 years old,don't smoke,don't have high blood pressure,not overweight,adequate physical activity. The only risk factor for AAA that you have is family history.These doesn't mean that because your parent's had AAA you are going to have it too but these means that you have a risk a little bit higher than people who their parent's doesn't had AAA. Genetics is not in your hand and the only thing you can do is to avoid all other risk factors.With this I mean: -Eat healthy food mostly green vegetables and drink plenty of fluids. -Control your weight. -Keep exercising as you do now. -Measure your blood pressure once in a while. -Don't ever smoke. I suggest that every 6 months - 1 year do a regularly check-up that include : -Physical examination -Lipidic profile in blood -Blood sugar -Blood pressure measurement. And every year do an abdominal ultrasound scan to exclude AAA. An ultrasound scan is the easiest way to detect an AAA. This is a painless test. It is the same type of scan that pregnant women have to look at the baby in the womb so it is safe for you. In this way AAA is excluded and you can rest your mind of thinking constantly that you may have AAA. Hope I was able to help you. Let me know if you have further questions. Wish you good health. Dr.Rovena Murati