Living with an Aortic Aneurysm

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Cigarette crossed out on a "no smoking" poster

Toxic habits. It is highly recommended to avoid alcohol, tobacco and obesity. All three, either directly or indirectly, increase the risk of atherosclerosis, which, in turn, would cause more damage to the body’s vascular system. What is more, they are all factors that increase the risk associated with any intervention on the aorta, whether carried out as a preventive measure or for the urgent resolution of a complication.

Food pyramid

Diet. A good diet will reduce your overall cardiovascular risk and helps you achieve the physical condition necessary to overcome a potential aortic repair procedure.

Person swimming

Physical exercise. Generally speaking, you can follow a normal life; go for walks, ride a bicycle, swim and complete normal activities of daily living. Moderate exercise (up to 80% of your maximum heart rate) is also acceptable. Recommendations include avoiding lifting heavy weights (up to 1/3 of your body weight) or taking part in competitive or high-intensity exercise, as these activities can increase your blood pressure and place more stress on the aneurysm. It is important to remain active – avoid a sedentary lifestyle given that it is linked to an increased cardiovascular risk. 

Person sleeping in a bed

Sleep. Good quality sleep reduces stress, encourages heart-healthy living and may contribute to improved blood pressure control, all of which can have an effect on the aneurysm’s evolution.

Sexuality, sex, masculine, feminine

Sex. Recommendations with respect to physical exercise can also be applied to your sex life.

Travelling by plane

Travelling. Travelling is not normally contraindicated, but it is important to consider the healthcare services available in the chosen destination and the medical care necessary in case you require an unexpected emergency surgery.

Emotional support between two women

Social and emotional support. Living with an aortic aneurysm can be stressful. You should try to avoid emotionally stressful situations as they may increase your blood pressure. It is important to detect and treat any anxiety, fear or depression and do not be upset by any comments from others. Referral healthcare professionals can help, but often only if they receive accurate and appropriate information.

Substantiated information by:

Eduardo Quintana Obrador
Xavier Yugueros Castellnou

Published: 10 March 2020
Updated: 10 March 2020

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