Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

If you've been diagnosed with a thoracic aortic aneurysm, your doctor will likely advise you to avoid heavy lifting and vigorous physical activity as these can increase blood pressure, putting additional pressure on your aneurysm. If you want to participate in a particular activity, ask your doctor if it would be possible to perform an exercise stress test to see how much exercise raises your blood pressure. Moderate physical activity is generally beneficial for you.

Stress can raise your blood pressure, so try to avoid conflict and stressful situations as much as possible. If you're going through a particularly emotional time in your life, let your doctor know because your medications may need to be adjusted to keep your blood pressure levels from going too high.

There are no medications you can take to prevent an aortic aneurysm, although taking medications to control your blood pressure and cholesterol level may reduce your risk of having complications from a thoracic aortic aneurysm.

For now the most appropriate approach to prevent an aortic aneurysm or keep an aneurysm from worsening is to keep your blood vessels as healthy as possible. This means taking certain steps, including these:

  • Don't use tobacco products.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Reduce cholesterol and fat in your diet.

If you have some risk factors for aortic aneurysm, talk to your doctor. If you are at risk, your doctor may recommend additional measures, including medications to lower your blood pressure and relieve stress on weakened arteries. You may also want to consider screening echocardiograms every few years.

Coping and support

Living with a thoracic aortic aneurysm can be stressful. Try to avoid stressful situations and strong emotions such as anger, as these can increase your blood pressure.

If you have a genetic condition such as Marfan syndrome, you may feel fear, anxiety or depression. Talk to your doctor if you experience these emotions; he or she may refer you to a doctor trained in mental health conditions (psychologist).

You may find it helpful to join a support group with people who have similar conditions. Talk to your doctor about support groups in your area.

April 01, 2015
References
  1. What is an aneurysm? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/arm. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  2. Hiratzka LF, et al. 2010 ACCF/AHA/AATS/ACR/ASA/SCA/SCAI/SIR/STS/SVM guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with thoracic aortic disease: Executive summary. Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions. 2010;76:E43.
  3. Aortic aneurysms. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. http://www.sts.org/patient-information/aneurysm-surgery/aortic-aneurysms. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  4. Thoracic aortic aneurysms. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/diseases_of_the_aorta_and_its_branches/thoracic_aortic_aneurysms.html?qt=thoracic%20aortic%20aneurysm&alt=sh. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  5. Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=330&sectionid=44291014. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
  6. What is Marfan syndrome? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/mar. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  7. What is EDS? Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. http://www.ednf.org/what-eds. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
  8. Booher AM, et al. Diagnosis and management issues in thoracic aortic aneurysm. American Heart Journal. 2011;162:38.
  9. Jondeau G, et al. Genetics of thoracic aortic aneurysms. Current Atherosclerosis Reports. 2012;14:219.
  10. Shah AA, et al. Results of thoracic endovascular aortic repair 6 years after United States Food and Drug Administration approval. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2012;94:1394.
  11. Wright MJ. Management of Marfan syndrome and related disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  12. Thoracic aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections. GeneReviews. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1120/?report=printable. Accessed Dec. 15, 2014.
  13. Woo YJ, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of thoracic aortic aneurysm. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  14. Woo YJ, et al. Epidemiology, risk factors, pathogenesis and natural history of thoracic aortic aneurysm. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  15. Woo YJ, et al. Management and outcome of thoracic aneurysm. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  16. Wang GJ, et al. Endovascular repair of the thoracic aorta. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 21, 2014.
  17. Dines DE, et al. Thoracic aortic aneurysm: Case report of fatal rupture. Rocky Mountain Medical Journal. 1961;58:39.
  18. Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. December 5, 2014.
  19. AskMayoExpert. How is Marfan syndrome diagnosed? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  20. U.S. News Best Hospitals 2014-15. U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings. Accessed Dec. 29, 2014.
  21. Bowen JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 5, 2015.
  22. Coselli JS, et al. Early and 1-year outcomes of aortic root surgery in patients with Marfan syndrome: A prospective, multicenter, comparative study. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. 2014;147:1758.
  23. Mosman EA. Radiology information management system. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 12, 2015.
  24. Severson RM. Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database. Accessed Jan. 15, 2015.

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.