What exactly is a brain aneurysm?
A brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s been described as looking like a berry hanging from a stem. While most aneurysms don’t rupture or create health problems, those that do trigger bleeding into the brain result in a hemorrhagic stroke. Strokes can lead to serious consequences and are life-threatening. Make sure you’re aware of the easy-to-miss signs of a stroke.
And if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, immediately call an ambulance or have someone take you to the ER—don’t drive yourself.
Sudden, severe headache
If you have a ruptured aneurysm, you might get a terrible headache—unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. “It’s often described as the worst headache of your life,” says Mark McLaughlin, MD, FACS, who practices neurological surgery at Princeton Brain and Spine. “The leakage of blood is irritating to the brain coverings, causing the pain.” It’s different than regular headaches in that the pain comes on very abruptly, and it’s severe and intense. Headaches can often signal something serious, and here are 16 signs that your headache could be something way worse.
The onset of double vision or droopy eyelid
“This can be caused by an enlarging aneurysm that is pushing on the nerve that moves your eye,” says Dr. McLaughlin. If you suddenly have eye problems—double vision or your eyelids start to droop—you should call 911 immediately. “This is not a ‘wait and see what happens’ situation,” says Dr. McLaughlin. Getting help quickly can save your life—and so can knowing these stroke symptoms in women that they’re likely to ignore.