This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
You’ve heard scary stories about it. You’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy enough to know you should be scared. Nearly 90% of people don’t know what it is. But what exactly is a brain aneurysm?
According to a top New York neurologist, a brain aneurysm is a weakness in the wall of your brain’s blood vessel. The vessel inflates, forming a bulge. It looks like a balloon and may pop too, leaking blood into your brain.
The scary thing is, people with aneurysms don’t know they have one until it pops. “Until a rupture or leak occurs, many people are walking around with an aneurysm and don’t know it,” said Dr. Howard Riina to Prevention.com.
Dr. Riina suspects that nearly 9% of people aren’t aware they have an aneurysm, because many times, it doesn’t pop.
While so few people don’t know they have an aneurysm, it’s important to look out for it’s symptoms. That’s because up to 50% of people may die “as soon as an aneurysm ruptures”.
So what does it feel like?
According to Dr. Riina, an aneurysm can feel like you’ve been struck by lightening. It can accompany facial tingling, neck stiffness, blurry vision, weakness and sensitivity to light. Many times, Dr. Riina’s patients feel a headache behind their eyes.
It goes unsaid that if you experience any of these symptoms, go to the ER. The earlier diagnosis, the better — but even after the aneurysm is relieved by a doctor, “you’re not out of the woods yet,” Dr. Riina warns.
10. Strokes are more common among the elderly, with the chance of stroke nearly doubling each decade after the age of 55.
9. Stroke risk is greater in those whose immediate family members have had a stroke, and a stroke can be a symptom of various hereditary disorders.
8. The risk of death from stroke is higher in African-Americans as they also have higher risks of complications like high blood pressure and diabetes.
7. Women are also more likely to die of a stroke, possibly due to factors such as birth control usage and pregnancy complications.
6. Strokes are more likely in people who have already suffered a stroke or a heart attack.
5. Southeastern states are also called the “stroke belt” states, as strokes are more common in this area.
4. Alcohol abuse can lead to many problems, including strokes.
3. Speech difficulties are a major symptom of someone who has had or is having a stroke.
2. Possibly the most noticeable sign of stroke is the drooping of one side of the face, or face numbness.
1. Weakness on one side of the body is another symptom of a stroke.