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6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of a Peripheral Aneurysm

6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of a Peripheral Aneurysm

Aneurysms are weakened areas in your artery walls. These weak spots can bulge out, and a rupture can cause complications. Although most people think of aneurysms as something that happens in your brain or aorta, there’s also a peripheral aneurysm, which can occur in any artery other than your aorta. 

Here at Vascular Specialists, our team of surgeons and medical staff are experts when it comes to diagnosing and treating peripheral aneurysms — such as popliteal aneurysms and femoral aneurysms — in our Vein Care Institute

But you don’t have to wait until you have signs of an aneurysm before you start thinking about your vascular health. Here, we share six tips for reducing your risk of peripheral aneurysms.

1. Manage hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, increases your risk of developing aneurysms. Not only that, but high blood pressure adds more stress to weakened artery walls, increasing the chance that an aneurysm will rupture. 

You can reduce your risk of developing an aneurysm by managing high blood pressure through lifestyle changes and, if needed, medication. 

2. Get your cholesterol levels under control

High cholesterol is another risk factor for both peripheral and aortic aneurysms. Lifestyle changes that help manage cholesterol include:

Many of the same lifestyle changes that help lower cholesterol can also have a positive effect on your blood pressure. Medication can also help safely lower your levels if lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough.

3. Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity affects your vascular health in many ways. Carrying excess weight can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and arteriosclerosis. Being overweight or obese puts additional strain on your artery walls, which can contribute to the development of an aneurysm. 

Losing weight can reduce your risk of peripheral aneurysms. 

4. Exercise regularly

The American Heart Association recommends that all adults exercise for 150 minutes each week. Exercise provides many benefits, including:

In other words, exercise helps prevent peripheral aneurysms by helping you manage the risk factors — such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol — that cause aneurysms. 

5. Stop smoking

Smoking is notorious for its negative effects on your lungs, but it’s just as dangerous for your vascular system. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and peripheral aneurysms. If you smoke, consider starting a smoking cessation program. 

6. Examine your diet

While dietary modifications won’t treat a current aneurysm, eating a heart-friendly diet can help reduce your risk of developing a peripheral aneurysm by managing the conditions that increase your risk of aneurysms.

Ideally, you should fill your diet with whole grains, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids, dark leafy greens, lean protein, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid or severely limit trans fats, saturated fats, processed foods, and excess alcohol.

What if you already have a peripheral aneurysm?

Even if you take all precautionary steps to avoid an aneurysm, it’s possible that you can still develop one. That’s because some risk factors, including family history, aren't within your control. 

You might suspect you have a peripheral aneurysm if your toes are blue, you have leg pain or tenderness, your skin appears shiny, or you develop a leg ulcer. Because treatment can help prevent a rupture, see a doctor if you spot these signs. 

Depending on the size and severity of your aneurysm, we may suggest routine ultrasound monitoring, open surgery to repair the aneurysm with a graft, or a minimally invasive procedure to place a stent graft.

If you’re concerned about peripheral aneurysms or you’d like to explore your treatment options, give us a call at 815-824-4406. You can also request an appointment online for either location — in Tinley Park or Evergreen Park, Illinois.

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