Who is at Risk?
Many people may be at risk of aortic disease and not even know it.
RISK FACTORS INCLUDE
A personal or family history of thoracic disease. If you or a family member is living with an aneurysm or if you have a family member who has had an aortic dissection, you are at an increased risk for thoracic aortic dissection. You and your other family members should be evaluated to determine if a predisposition for aortic aneurysm and dissection is running in the family.
Certain genetic syndromes. These genetic syndromes greatly increase your risk for thoracic aortic disease and a potentially fatal aortic dissection: Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Turner syndrome and vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Bicuspid aortic valve disease. If you have a bicuspid aortic valve (two leaflets instead of the typical three), or have had a bicuspid aortic valve replaced, you need to be monitored for thoracic aortic disease.
Lifestyle and trauma can trigger aortic dissection. It is possible to trigger an aortic dissection through injury to the chest, extreme straining associated with body building, illicit drug abuse, poorly controlled high blood pressure or by discontinuing necessary blood pressure medications.
Rarely, pregnancy can trigger an aortic dissection. However, women with aortic aneurysms and connective tissue disorders who are pregnant are at higher risk of aortic dissection during late pregnancy and delivery and should be carefully monitored by a cardiovascular specialist.