The causes of a brain aneurysm relate to heredity, physical condition and lifestyle choices. These factors can create a weak area in the wall of an artery that is forced to bulge or balloon by pressure from the pulsations of blood flow. Pressure increases If the aneurysm is located where the artery branches into smaller vessels.
The hereditary causes of a brain aneurysm may include:
- Family history
- Being female
- Arteriovenous malformation (when arteries and veins connect abnormally)
- Tuberous sclerosis – a condition that causes tumors
- A narrowing of the aorta artery (coarctation)
- Arterial disease
- Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
- Genetic disorders
Physical condition seems to play a role in developing an aneurysm. Advancing age, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) are contributing factors. Head injury may lead to a dissecting aneurysm. However, certain lifestyle choices may significantly increase risk: cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and use of drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine.
It is not always known what causes a brain aneurysm. A person with many risk factors may not develop an aneurysm, while another person with no risk factors does. However, a person who does have one or more known risk factors can modify behavior to minimize risk and take advantage of being monitored by a neuroscience health professional.