Brain aneurysm: What are the early warning signs?

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A brain aneurysm is a protuberance or enlargement of any artery within the brain. An aneurysm can form in delicate or weakened sites in the arterial walls. A small-sized aneurysm does not cause any symptoms.

The initial warning signs might arise once it grows large enough to crush on the nerves or if it leaks blood into the brain or ruptures.

Visual problems

A drooping eyelid or double vision are potential warning signs of a brain aneurysm that presses against a nerve or starting to leak blood.

Some individuals might end up with headaches within days or weeks before a brain aneurysm ruptures.

The individual might mention a sensation of pain behind or above one eye or dilation of the pupils is observed. The other early signs of an aneurysm include blurry vision or light sensitivity. These signs might be present before a rupture by minutes or even weeks.


Some individuals might end up with headaches within days or weeks before a brain aneurysm ruptures. It is important to note that a leaky aneurysm might trigger these warning headaches.

Once an aneurysm ruptures, the individual might experience the “worst” headache in his/her life. Remember that sudden, intense headaches might be initial warning signs of a bleeding brain aneurysm.

If rupture occurs, it is usually fatal in almost half of cases. Once a sudden, intense headache occurs, either alone or with other signs, medical attention is required. In addition, the elderly might only experience a mild headache or no headache at all.

Nausea and loss of consciousness

The initial warning signs of a growing or leaking brain aneurysm include vomiting, nausea and stiff neck.

The individual might lose consciousness momentarily in minutes or even weeks prior the rupture of an aneurysm. The individual might appear sleepy of confused upon waking up and might lapse into this phase of confusion in a few minutes or even hours. Oftentimes, the individual progresses into a state of coma or end up with a seizure. In such cases, immediate medical care is needed.

Weakness or paralysis

If an aneurysm ruptures, it can lead to numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. The paralysis might occur on one side of the body. In addition, the breathing of the individual changes patterns frequently.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a brain aneurysm is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the early indications, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.

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