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What Are the Symptoms of a Brain Aneurysm?

Most unruptured aneurysms are  small and don't cause obvious symptoms. At times, unruptured aneurysms are found when they grow and press on nerves in the area, causing symptoms like blurred or double vision. Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm occur when the aneurysm bursts (causing bleeding into the brain) triggering a severe headache or loss of consciousness.

Symptoms of Unruptured Aneurysm

Most small unruptured aneurysms cause no symptoms at all. Unruptured aneurysms may be found by chance when a person is having tests for other reasons, such as chronic headaches or carotid artery disease.

People with an unruptured aneurysm may have the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Pain above or behind the eye
  • Dilated pupil
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Eye movement problems
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking
  • Chronic headache

Symptoms of a Ruptured Aneurysm

Most aneurysms will have no symptoms until they grow large and burst (rupture). When this happens, blood from the burst aneurysm goes into the spinal fluid in the space around the brain; this type of bleeding also is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm come on rapidly and can include:

  • Sudden and severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden change in mental status (drowsiness or loss of consciousness)
  • Sudden pain above or behind the eye
  • Sudden blurred or double vision
  • Trouble walking or dizziness
  • Sudden weakness and numbness
  • Eye sensitivity to light
  • Seizure

Bleeding into the brain can cause:

  • Damage to brain cells 
  • Increase pressure in the brain
  • Vasospasm (narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain)

If you or someone you know is having symptoms of an aneurysm, it's important to call 911 and quickly seek emergency medical attention for diagnosis  and treatment.