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Managing my Aortic Aneurysm

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I have an aortic aneurysm. I’m not sure where it came from but since I was diagnosed with chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy, I have developed a healthy skepticism about the cardiotoxicity of all the aggressive chemo I was prescribed.

Marfan’s Syndrome rums in my family. I have the idea in my head even if I am not formally diagnosed with it,  that Marfan’s can affect my heart. And cardiotoxic chemo can negatively affect my heart further.

Ever since my diagnosis of CIC and Afib in late 2010 I have been living a heart healthy lifestyle including the nutritional supplementation below.

I am not saying that I am any sort of health professional nor am I saying that people with aortic aneurysms should not consider conventional therapies listed below.

I am simply explaining what I do, how I am managing my aortic aneurysm.

What are the risks and benefits of conventional aortic aneurysm therapies?

Conventional therapies for aortic aneurysms aim to prevent complications such as rupture or dissection. The choice of therapy depends on factors like the size and location of the aneurysm, the patient’s overall health, and the presence of symptoms. Here are some common conventional therapies along with their risks and benefits:

  1. Watchful Waiting:
    • Benefits: Small aneurysms may be monitored regularly through imaging tests without immediate intervention. This approach is less invasive and avoids the risks associated with surgery or endovascular procedures.
    • Risks: The main risk is the potential for an aneurysm to grow and eventually rupture, which can be life-threatening.
  2. Open Surgical Repair:
    • Benefits: Traditional open surgery involves replacing the weakened section of the aorta with a synthetic graft, which can be effective in preventing rupture.
    • Risks: This is an invasive procedure with potential complications such as infection, bleeding, and longer recovery times. It may also be associated with a higher risk in certain populations, such as older adults or those with multiple health issues.
  3. Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR):
    • Benefits: EVAR is a less invasive procedure where a stent graft is inserted through small incisions to reinforce the weakened section of the aorta. It often results in shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery compared to open surgery.
    • Risks: Potential complications include endoleaks (persistent blood flow outside the graft), device migration, and the need for additional interventions over time. EVAR may not be suitable for all types of aneurysms.
  4. Hybrid Procedures:
    • Benefits: Some patients may undergo a combination of open and endovascular procedures, taking advantage of the benefits of both approaches.
    • Risks: Hybrid procedures may still carry risks associated with open surgery and endovascular techniques.
  5. Medication Management:
    • Benefits: Medications may be prescribed to manage blood pressure and other risk factors to slow the progression of aneurysms.
    • Risks: Medications alone may not be sufficient for larger aneurysms, and there may be potential side effects associated with long-term drug use.

What nutritional supplements are heart healthy?

Several nutritional supplements are believed to support heart health. However, it’s important to note that individual needs may vary, and consulting with a healthcare professional before adding supplements to your routine is recommended. Here are some supplements that are commonly associated with heart health:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
    • Found in fish oil supplements, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are known for their cardiovascular benefits. They can help lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, and decrease the risk of heart disease.
  2. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10):
    • CoQ10 is an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in energy production in cells. It is believed to support heart health by improving energy production in the heart muscle.
  3. Magnesium:
    • Magnesium is essential for heart function, and a deficiency may contribute to cardiovascular issues. It helps regulate blood pressure and supports muscle and nerve function.
  4. Garlic:
    • Garlic supplements are thought to have various cardiovascular benefits, including helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  5. Fiber Supplements:
    • Soluble fiber, such as psyllium, can help lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol and removing it from the body.
  6. Vitamin D:
    • Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. While sunlight is a natural source, supplements may be necessary, especially for individuals with limited sun exposure.
  7. Vitamin K2:
    • Vitamin K2 is essential for proper blood clotting and calcium metabolism. Some studies suggest that it may help prevent arterial calcification.
  8. Folic Acid (Vitamin B9):
    • Folic acid may help lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
  9. L-Carnitine:
    • L-Carnitine is involved in the transportation of fatty acids into cells for energy production and may support cardiovascular health.
  10. Green Tea Extract:
    • Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins, which may have heart-protective effects, such as reducing cholesterol and improving blood vessel function.

Are you a cancer survivor? Are you managing any long-term or late stage side effects from your cancer treatments? Let me know- David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com


David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Treatment of thoracic aortic aneurysm

“The diameter of thoracic aortic aneurysm (AA) is at least 1.5 times that of a normal thoracic aorta ().

  • Sixty percent of thoracic AAs occur in the aortic root and/or the ascending aorta,
  • 40% occur in the descending aorta,
  • 10% occur in the aortic arch, and
  • 10% occur in the thoracoabdominal aorta ().

Patients with thoracic AA are at increased risk for aortic dissection if they have high blood pressure, especially not controlled, dyslipidemia, smoking, use of cocaine and other stimulants which increase aortic wall stress, weight lifting, trauma, aortic coarctation, pheochromocytoma, and disorders with abnormalities of the aortic media ().

Other causes for thoracic aortic dissection are pregnancy, polycystic renal disease, chronic use of corticosteroids or immunosuppressant drugs, and aortic wall infections ()…

If there are symptoms suggesting thoracic AA expansion, surgical intervention should be considered. If the ascending thoracic aorta or aortic sinus diameter is 5.5 cm or more in an asymptomatic surgical candidate who has a degenerative thoracic AA, chronic aortic dissection, intramural hematoma, penetrating atherosclerotic ulcer, mycotic aneurysm, or pseudoaneurysm, surgery should be performed ().

Asymptomatic persons with genetic conditions such as Marfan’s syndromes should have elective surgery if their diameters are 4.0 to 5.0 cm depending on the disorder to prevent acute dissection or rupture (,,)…

Asymptomatic persons with Marfan’s syndrome should be treated with surgical intervention if their ascending thoracic aortic diameter is 5.0 cm or more and with <5.0 cm if there is a family history of dissection or an increase in ascending thoracic aortic diameter greater than 0.5 cm per year ()…”

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