There are certain diseases that give warning signs before they produce a potentially fatal reaction. Then there are others, such as an abdominal aortic aneurysm, that provide no warning symptoms until the situation has reached a critical level. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a condition where the aorta is larger than it should be. Patients have no warning symptoms that they have this problem until they find themselves facing a life-threatening emergency and being rushed to the hospital.
The abdominal aorta is a main artery. In fact, there are no other blood vessels in the body larger than the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta goes directly from the heart to the abdomen. If the lining of the vessel becomes weak, either as a result of advanced age or because of other risk factors, the wall of the aorta expands. Most patients will experience an abdominal aortic aneurysm in the spot where the aorta branches off to provide blood to the kidneys and the lower extremities.
Because an abdominal aortic aneurysm is so dangerous, individuals who are at risk for this condition should get aortic ultrasound testing for aortic aneurysms every single year. An aortic aneurysm screening is a non-invasive process. It requires you to lay on your back on a medical bed. From there, an ultrasound technician will capture images of your abdominal area and measure the size of the abdominal aorta.
If you are at risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms, our doctor will tell you about the risk and will also explain to you how frequently you need to get the aortic ultrasound testing. When it’s time for you to visit the doctor, you can prepare yourself for the visit by wearing clothing that is loose fitting. This will allow the ultrasound technician the ability to work around your clothing during the screening process.
It is also required that you not eat for at least four hours before you have the screening. The meal that you eat four hours before the screen should not be heavy. You’re going to want to eat half of what you normally eat or less. It is recommended that you avoid eating greasy foods.
If the doctor has prescribed any medication, you can take that normally. In cases of individuals who are diabetic or who cannot fast for four hours, it is recommended that you eat a “diabetic meal.” Consult our physician to find out what a diabetic meal would mean in your case.
It is essential that individuals who are at risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms take the time to get aortic ultrasound testing. These screenings can save your life. Some warning signs of an abdominal aortic aneurysm would include high blood pressure, obesity, excessive sweating, shock and a rapid pulse. That being said, the vast majority of patients who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm exhibit no symptoms, and it is not until they are being rushed to the hospital that they even know they have the condition.
Modern screening techniques allow people to identify and treat the infirmities that they have sooner. However, they only work if at risk patients do their duty and have the screenings done per our doctor’s recommendation.
Located in Fort Myers, Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida offers aortic ultrasound testing as a way for patients to have peace of mind when it comes to their abdominal aorta. If we detect a problem during the screening, we will work with you to come up with an effective treatment plan. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.