SAN ANTONIO — Keeping up with routine doctor visits is something that a must for everyone to make sure health is in tip top shape. In our latest Wear The Gown KENS5 reporter Jeremy Baker takes us through his journey that takes it one step further, because of a life-threatening family history.
An aneurysm is a weakening in the artery wall. Aneurysms can occur in any artery of the human body, including the heart, abdomen, legs, and the brain. If it ruptures, more often than not can lead to sudden death.
When Jeremy was in high school his father died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Both his right and left lungs also had previously collapsed spontaneously. A few years later in college both of Jeremy's lungs spontaneously collapsed a few months apart, and so did one of his younger brother Adam's lungs. The lungs have been taken care of, but the threat of an aneurysm remains. Dr. Truc Ly, a cardiovascular surgeon with the Baptist Health System told us, "About 20% of the time, if you have a first degree relative with an aneurysm, a first degree relatives will have an aneurysm as well."
Dr. Truc Ly says because of the family history, getting screened for an aortic aneursym, the most common, was a must. Dr. Ly said, "If you don't have an aneurysm, then you know, nothing to do. You just only do something if there's symptoms that show up." Some of the symptoms of an aortic aneurysm include a sharp, sudden pain in the upper back. Pain in the chest, jaw, neck or arms. Shortness of breath. Low blood pressure. And loss of consciousness.
Because Jeremy had two incidents of chest, neck and jaw pain in the past several months, while the EKG appeared normal, Dr. Ly said getting a better look was extremely important. Dr. Ly said, "The scans are basically a way to give me a 3D image of what's going on inside of your body. It's a CAT scan."
Within a couple of weeks Jeremy had the scans completed at one of their imaging centers, with views of the chest and abdoment from the side and from the top. And the results? Dr. Ly told us, "Essentially show that your aorta was normal caliber and there is no evidence of aneurysm, which is good news."
Dr. Ly also says whenever there is a family history of something like an aneurysm or any other life-threatening condition, the patient has to take ownership of their medical care.
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