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What exactly does an unfolded aorta mean and is it a serious condition?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 1055 Questions
I am a 65 yr. old man and during a recent X-Ray it was mentioned that there is an unfolded aorta. I am diabetic but my Hb1ac is usually between 6.8 and 7.2. The last reading on the day that the X-Ray was taken was only 6.4. I usually manage to keep my blood glucose level under good control. I was a heavy drinker but have stopped for the past two years. I smoke a lot. When I mentioned this to my wife who incidentally is a gynecologist, she immediately attributed it to my having high blood pressure which I do not. My blood pressure is perfectly normal and which I carefully monitor with an automatic BP meter. I also monitor my blood sugar periodically. What exactly does an unfolded aorta mean and is it a serious condition? Is it absolutely necessary that I consult a cardiologist? My wife did not ask me to. She should know, shouldn't she?
Posted Wed, 25 Dec 2013 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Praveen 1 hour later
Brief Answer: May take Cardiologist's opinion Detailed Answer: Hi. Thanks for writing on XXXXXXX Aortic unfolding is an age related change in the proximal aorta (major blood vessel) which leads to the widening of the aorta. In my opinion you should consult a cardiologist for two reasons: 1.Out of proportion to the aortic unfolding is observed in the chest X-ray and needs to be confirmed by other investigations (such as ultrasound, invasive angiography, X-ray computed tomography, and cardiac magnetic resonance). 2.Though your blood pressure is normal on automatic device, in my opinion you should get it checked on a mercury sphygmomanometer just to confirm that your device gives the same reading. Any increase in pressure have to be adequately treated to prevent further unfolding. Unfolding occurs due to increase in the dimension due to the fatigue and breaking of the fibre which constitute the wall of the blood vessel. Deposition of calcium (due to ageing) and increase in blood pressure are also responsible for this condition. Your blood sugars are well controlled HbA1c < 7 means adequate control of sugars). Discuss with your wife once again and in my clinic I would advice my patients in a similar fashion. Hope this answers your query.Keep us posted for further query.
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