In this Health Article:
- What Causes Aortic Dissection?
- What Are the Types of Aortic Dissection?
- What Are the Symptoms of Aortic Dissection?
- What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Aortic Dissection?
- What Are the Treatments Available for Aortic Dissection?
- How Do You Cope Up with Aortic Dissection?
- What Are the Ways to Prevent Aortic Dissection?
- Medications for Aortic Dissection Available at InternationalDrugMart.com
- Self Care
IntroductionAortic Dissection is a relatively rare, but potentially life-threatening condition. A tear in the aorta is called an aortic dissection. The tear is in the inner lining of the aorta, which is the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The tear creates a space between the inner and outer layers. If blood leaks into that space, it can result in a variety of potentially fatal conditions including heart attack, stroke, and irreversible kidney failure. Aortic Dissection mostly is most commonly seen between 50 and 70 years of age.
What Causes Aortic Dissection?The exact cause for Aortic Dissection is unknown. However, the risks factors and conditions associated with development of Aortic Dissection are:
- Due to aortic aneurysm, which happens when, a part of the aorta wall weakens and bulges out.
- Due to Aortic stenosis, which could be congenital or acquired wherein the blood flow from the heart to the aorta is reduced by a narrowed aortic valve.
- Due to Coarctation of the aorta, which is primarily a congenital condition wherein, the aorta is constricted or narrowed along its path.
- Due to Valvular regurgitation, a condition in which one or more of the heart's four valves do not close properly, thus allowing blood to leak back in to the chamber from it originated.
- Pregnant women may have additional strain in the heart, which increases the risk of aortic dissection.
- Diseases such as Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome that affect the collagen.
- Inflammatory diseases like takayasu arteritis, giant cell arteritis, rheumatoid arthritis and syphilis that can possible affect the blood vessels with an inflamed aorta.
- Due to Turner syndrome, which affects women, resulting in underdeveloped and infertile ovaries.
- Caused by an accidental injury to the chest area
- Intense weight lifting can sometimes cause aortic dissection. Blood pressure may shoot up and result in a tear of the lining of the aorta.
- Use of cocaine can cause a rapid increase in blood pressure.
What Are the Types of Aortic Dissection?Aortic dissection is of two types depending on whether ascending or descending aorta is involved.
Type A dissection: A dissection to the ascending aorta is classified as Type A dissection. The tear begins at ascending aorta and progresses throughout the vessel. Sometimes extending as far as the arteries in the leg. Type A dissection can be medically treated though only briefly either through interventional catheterization or open surgical techniques.
Type B dissection: A dissection of the descending aorta is classified as Type B dissection. This can be medically treated through oral medications followed by routine monitoring of the condition.
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What Are the Symptoms of Aortic Dissection?the symptoms may begin gradually or suddenly. Chest pain is the primary symptom and other symptoms are:
- Intense chest pain. The pain is normally described as sharp, ripping, tearing or stabbing and can be felt in the back, chest, neck or jaw. Not to be confused with angina where the pain and discomfort typically intensifies with time.
- Confusion, disoriented thoughts
- Profuse seating
- Reduced movement in any location of the body.
- Reduced sensation in the arms or legs.
- Shortness of breath.
- Dry skin or mouth
- Intense Anxiety
- Excessive yawning
- Nausea or vomiting
What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Aortic Dissection?If you have symptoms of aortic dissection or severe chest pain or if you have a family history of aortic dissections without further delay seek medical attention. As the excruciating chest pain can often be misunderstood as angina, your physician aims to confirm that it is in fact a dissection and not an angina. Using a stethoscope, your physician will listen to your heart, lungs and abdomen. A murmur or an abnormal sound may be heard.
Your physician may direct you to take x-rays to find the presence of a widened aorta. This may be followed by a CT scan of the chest with dye will be done. Other tests like echocardiogram, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Peripheral angiography will be required to help identify the type of dissection.
What Are the Treatments Available for Aortic Dissection?In cases where treatment has not been provided within the first 48 hours, the state of health of the afflicted individual can be highly life threatening. It can lead to death.
Based on the test results, the further course of action will be decided. Medications may be prescribed or a surgery to repair or replace the affected area will be recommended. This depends on the location of dissection and its severity. In most of the cases, hospitalization will be required to continuously monitor pulse, blood pressure and breathing.
How Do You Cope Up with Aortic Dissection?Use these tips to cope with aortic dissection.
- Keep blood pressure under control
- Quit smoking.
- Find your ideal weight.
- If obese, work towards reducing weight.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Avoid salty foods and reduce salt intake.
- Avoid foods high in fat and cholesterol.
- Plan an exercise regimen in consultation with physician.
- Sleep well.
- Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
What Are the Ways to Prevent Aortic Dissection?There are some causes, which are preventable, and others, which are not preventable. The best way to prevent Aortic dissection is by removing the factors that may lead to aortic dissection. Here are few tips to prevent aortic dissection.
- Monitor blood pressure. Have a home monitoring device.
- For those with Marfan syndrome, taking beta-blockers can help.
- Adhere to safety precautions to prevent injuries.
- If obese work towards reducing weight.
- If you are aware of a family history of aortic dissection, discuss with physician.
- Watch your cholesterol levels and keep within limits.
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Self CareHere are few simple, effective aortic dissection self-care tips to reduce further complication.
- Never miss or postpone appointments with physician
- Take medications regularly.
- Monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- If gaining weight, consult physician.
- Do exercises only after consultation with doctor.
- Don't feel tempted to eat salty foods, fatty foods.
- Take precautions to prevent injuries.
- Wear seat belts while traveling in car.