By the way, doctor: Do I need to be checked for a brain aneurysm?

By the way, Doctor

Q. My sister passed away from a brain aneurysm several months ago. She was just 33. My doctor says I have nothing to worry about because it's not hereditary. Still, I'm worried. Do I and other close relatives need to be checked?

A. I am very sorry to hear about your sister. And it's understandable that you'd be worried.

As you probably know, a brain aneurysm is a balloon-like pouch that sticks out from the wall of an artery inside the brain. If it bursts, blood pours into the brain, and that can be fatal. But most such aneurysms never burst. About 10–15 million people in the United States have them; about 30,000 rupture each year. The risk increases with age and the size of the aneurysm. Where in the brain the aneurysm is located is another factor.

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