It is always emotionally painful when a loved one or friend becomes ill. As they say, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’. This is the very time people need us most – to listen to them and to help them get all they require.
One such medical scenario is when someone suddenly develops the symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm. This could include a severe headache. Urgent tests would have to be conducted on the brain. If bleeding had occurred this would be a medical emergency. Another scenario would be if a friend encountered the signs of an unruptured aneurysm. Symptoms could include such things as double vision or pain in the eyes.
In these situations, there could be several different diagnoses, and the treatment will reflect this. But what can we do to help someone get through the experience? Let’s find out together.
Understand their situation
It is obviously difficult for a layman to fully grasp all the medical terminology. Having said that, there could be real gains in speaking to a healthcare professional. According to the doctors at MyVivaa.com, it can be helpful to know that the patient may have also experienced abdominal or back pain, or vomiting and nausea. They may also have encountered an increased heart rate and lower blood pressure. Medical advisers may also explain the possible causes, such as heredity, tobacco use, or bacterial or fungal infections. The patient may alternatively have been overweight or had high cholesterol or blood pressure. Where repair surgery is required, medics can advise what this involves, and also explain the risks.
Such information can help a person know how to provide the best care for their friend. It will enable them to understand not just their symptoms and the causes of the condition, but also their proposed treatment, ongoing needs, and even the prognosis.
Know the two conditions
At the most basic level, the walls of the person’s blood vessels had become damaged or weakened. The blood vessels would then have bulged inside the body. The most common condition would be what’s called a saccular aneurysm. A sac will have appeared inside the artery, and developed a stem and neck, like a fruit.
The less common version would be a fusiform aneurysm. It would appear like the previous version, but without the stem. Fortunately, these types rarely rupture within the body.
Be there for tests and diagnosis
What treatment will they have and how long will they live? This depends on the specific condition. Doctors will look to see if the aneurysm has ruptured and also how fast it is growing. Where it is located and how large it is will also be highly relevant.
The doctor may try a ‘wait and see’ policy, prescribe medication, or refer the patient for surgery. In reality, it could be several of these things.
Assist before and after surgery
If the doctor says the aneurysm has ruptured, they will put the patient forward for surgery. This could involve endovascular coiling or surgical clipping. In some cases, flow diverters are installed in the patient’s body. They are tiny implants like the stents used in heart surgery.
The patient may need help with getting to and from the hospital. They may want their hospital bag to be checked before leaving home. On returning, sufficient care must be put in place while the patient rehabilitates.
Make sure they take their meds
Doctors don’t prescribe things for no reason, and it’s paramount the patient has a regular supply of their prescription drugs. There may be such things as beta-blockers to tackle blood pressure or pain-relief tablets.
In some cases, statins such as Lipitor are prescribed. They will help prevent the arteries in the brain from narrowing. Anti-seizure medication may also be relevant. If your friend has surgery to repair a cerebral aneurysm they may also need to take antiplatelet meds.
The doctor may ask that you encourage the patient to maintain a healthy diet and take regular exercise. Any smoking or recreational drugs would be highly inadvisable during this time. Some patients benefit from attending support groups. Some can be located via The Brain Aneurysm Foundation, so it’s worth checking online.
If people experience subarachnoid hemorrhages, they frequently have to attend centres to regain their speech, movement, or ability to work.
If a person is well informed on the patient’s condition they will be best placed to help them with everything from transport to lifestyle. The sufferer will be eternally grateful for your help. The journey will probably be more of a marathon than a sprint, but your friend will be happy they had someone at their side.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.