Katherine Bows Taylor
September 16, 2018 1:00 p.m.
September Is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month
September is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month and the Trinity Love Hoblit Foundation will mark the month by continuing its mission to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of brain aneurysm.
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, each year, brain aneurysms cause nearly 500,000 deaths worldwide. Researchers estimate that six million Americans have an unruptured brain aneurysm. The annual rate of ruptured aneurysms in the United States is about eight to 10 in every 100,000 people, or about 30,000 people a year. Every 18 minutes, a brain aneurysm ruptures. And when it does, death or lifelong disabilities often result.
“A ruptured brain aneurysm is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment,” said Olivia Hoblit, director of the Trinity Love Hoblit Foundation. “Risk factors include: smoking, high blood pressure, traumatic head injury, excessive alcohol use and drug use, particularly cocaine. Women, people of color and individuals over 40 are at higher risk. We also know those with a family history of brain aneurysms are at a higher risk.”
Survivors of brain aneurysm often experience what they describe as “the worst headache ever.” A sudden, severe headache is a common warning sign that someone may be suffering a brain aneurysm, a weakened arterial wall that, if it ruptures, causes bleeding and damages the brain. Other signs include dilated pupils, blurred vision, pain behind the eye, weakness and numbness, and difficulty speaking.
“Reducing the time between signs and symptoms and treatment saves lives and improves outcomes,” said Reena Bayardo, a survivor with a family history of brain aneurysm. When Bayardo was 16, her mother passed away at the age of 36 from a ruptured brain aneurysm. In 2015, Bayardo’s 15-year-old daughter Lisset fell while walking to school. “When I spoke to Lisset on the phone, her speech was slurred, she way crying and said her head hurt really badly and that she had just vomited – another warning sign,” said Bayardo. Lisset was rushed to the hospital and scans revealed two ruptured brain aneurysms. The procedure to close off the ruptures was successful, but Lisset remained in critical condition in ICU for weeks, followed by a long recovery.
After Lisset’s recovery, doctors recommended that Bayardo and her other three children undergo brain scans. While her son was cleared, her other two daughters show areas of concern that require future monitoring. As for Bayardo, she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2016 after it was missed by the reading radiologist. She also underwent successful treatment and has made a near-complete recovery.
“I am grateful for the work that The Trinity Love Hoblit Foundation is doing to increase public awareness of this devastating and often-fatal condition,” said Bayardo. Through awareness and funding that supports additional research, we can develop new treatments that save lives and improve the outcomes of survivors.”
Aneurysm Risk Factors Sudden Symptoms
Smoking Loss of consciousness
High blood pressure Confusion
Family history Seizure
Age over 40 Nausea and vomiting
Female Stiff neck
Person of color Sensitivity to light
Drug use (particularly cocaine) Numbness or weakness
Pain behind eye
About the Trinity Love Hoblit Foundation
The Trinity Love Hoblit Foundation, founded in 2016, is a nonprofit organization located in Fernandina Beach, Fla. dedicated to raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of brain aneurysm. The organization also provides support and funding for neuroscience research for brain aneurysm with the goal of advancing treatment options and reducing the time between treatment and signs/symptoms to ensure better outcomes for those suffering a brain aneurysm. To learn more about brain aneurysm, the Trinity Love Hoblit Foundation and to donate, visit www.TrinityHoblit.org. A portion of all gifts will be matched by the Baptist Health Foundation in Jacksonville, Fla.