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This aneurysm is my nightmare......help, please?
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This aneurysm is my nightmare......help, please?

In June of 2008, I had a cardiac/echo stress test.  I did fabulous during the stress test, and I felt very good during and after it.  Quite innocently and accidently, the results showed what was called a "mild dilation of the ascending aorta."  I then had my first ct scan, with contrast, a few weeks later.  The results read "mild aneurysmal dilation of root of the aorta measuring 4.3 cm by 3.9 cm.  I met with the cardiologist a week later and he did not think I had anything to worry about.  He told me to follow up with my regular doctor and that he didn't need to see me again, unless there was a problem.  I asked my doctor if I could have a second ct scan w/contrast in 6 months, in case it was one that would grow quickly.  So in January of 2009, I had another one done with the results  of "root of the aorta is 4 cm.  This is not aneurysmal."  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!!!!  I don't get it.  My brother is a family practice physician and he said that when they measure the aorta, they measure it at different places, and even though I am at the high end of the bell-shaped curve, it may be normal for me.  That really bothers me, because from all the research I have done, it is definitely an aneurysm!!

So, I had my third ct scan w/contrast in March of 2010, and the results were "root of aorta is 4.2 cm by 4.1 cm and that this remains unchanged."  To me it has changed, because EVERY result shows a different measurement.  My doctor does not want me to have another ct scan until 2012, which will be here soon enough, because I had 3 within 1 and 1/2 years.  My brother, the doctor, can't make me feel good about this.  I think this all came about because I had high blood pressure for awhile, and I am on blood pressure medication now.  

I tried to call the cardiologist's office, to see if he could sit down and review all 3 ct scan results, but he has left the practice and moved out of state.  Am I being paronoid?  I feel like I want a cardiologist to sit down and have a real discusion about this.  I would like to lose 40 pounds, and have been told not to lift heavy weights.  Just don't know what to do.......I am really scared, as I have enjoyed good health all my life..........I just turned 57 years old last week!!!

Sue
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Unless you are a very large woman, and I mean very large (height and weight), 4.0+ is not normal.  It is an enlarged root.  But the good news easily outweighs the bad.  First, it's a good sign that it hasn't changed in awhile.  In other words, the measurements have remained more or less stable.  There is some minor variation in measurements due to the equipment used, technician, radiologist, heartbeat, etc.

You should inquire about taking high-dose angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB), such as candesartan.  These drugs, which are commonly used to treat hypertension, also work to stabilize and in many cases reverse aortic enlargement WHEN TAKEN IN SUFFICIENTLY HIGH DOSAGES.  For many people, the starting dose is the FDA-approved maximum.  Sometimes the dose needs to be greater than the FDA-approved maximum.  The problem is that this is relatively new research and while it is gaining momentum as a miracle drug for people with connective tissue disease and aortic enlargement, most doctors, even reputable cardiologists, are unaware of the treatment, the need for high dosages, etc.  Do your research and find a doctor who likes to keep up with the latest research, and that will be your best bet.  And certainly lose weight - you don't need to lift weights to lose weight.  I am a big fan of the primal lifestyle - eat only natural foods and avoid sugar, grains, and refined products like the plague.  The health benefits are myriad.  "Mark's Daily Apple" is popular in this regard.


Nick
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Thanks, Nick!!!  I will look in to this.  And no, I am not a large woman.  I am only 5' 1" tall, but I do weigh around 175, so my weight is definitely an issue.  I will do some research on this.  Thanks again for your response.

Sue
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