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  • Writer's pictureGregory Cannarsa, MD

Brain Aneurysm Symptoms: Early Warning Signs and When to Seek Help

Key Takeaways

  • Recognizing the symptoms of a brain aneurysm can be crucial for early intervention and successful treatment.

  • While unruptured brain aneurysms may have milder symptoms like headaches or vision changes, a ruptured aneurysm often results in severe symptoms such as intense headaches, nausea, and even loss of consciousness.

  • Seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden-onset or progressively worsening symptoms.

Brain Aneurysm Symptoms

Understanding the symptoms of a brain aneurysm can be vital for timely intervention and treatment. A brain aneurysm occurs when a weak point in a blood vessel within the brain begins to bulge or balloon. While many aneurysms do not rupture, those that do can cause life-threatening complications. This article focuses on the various symptoms associated with brain aneurysms, their severity, and what action should be taken.

The Importance of Recognizing Brain Aneurysm Symptoms

  • Timely Intervention: Early detection can prevent rupture and complications.

  • Treatment Options: Allows for more choices in management strategies.

  • Risk Assessment: Identification of symptoms can lead to a better understanding of the risk involved.

Possible Symptoms of Unruptured Brain Aneurysms


  • Location: Typically localized near the aneurysm.

  • Intensity: Ranges from mild to severe, depending on the size and location.

Vision Changes

  • Blurred Vision: Caused by pressure on the optic nerve.

  • Double Vision: May occur if an aneurysm presses against the nerves controlling the eye muscles.

Symptoms of Ruptured Brain Aneurysms (Subarachnoid hemorrhage)

Sudden, Severe Headache

  • Intensity: Often described as "the worst headache of my life." Others say it feels like they were hit in the head with a baseball bat.

Loss of Consciousness

  • Duration: Can be momentary or prolonged.

Nausea and Vomiting

  • Cause: Body's response to increased intracranial pressure.

Stiff Neck

  • Inflammation: Occurs due to the leaking of blood into the subarachnoid space.


  • Cause: When blood touches the brain, it can cause irritation provoking seizure.

When to Seek Medical Help

  • Any New or Unusual Headaches: Especially those that are progressively worsening.

  • Sudden Onset Symptoms: Immediate medical attention is essential.

Brain Aneurysm and Diagnosis

MRI and CT Scans

  • Detail: High-resolution imaging for precise diagnosis.

  • Availability: Widely accessible in emergency departments.

Lumbar Puncture

  • Use: Mainly for confirming subarachnoid hemorrhage after a CT scan.

For further information, consult other reliable resources such as the Brain Aneurysm Foundation or the American Stroke Association.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Consult your healthcare provider for more information.


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