When Tommy Ford, the beloved actor who played sidekick Tommy Strawn on the hit 1990s comedy “Martin,” passed away suddenly in 2016, the news left many fans in shock. He died after an aneurysm ruptured in his abdomen – a condition mostly found in men over age 60 with additional risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Many of us who learned of the tragic news hadn’t ever heard of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The word “aneurysm” is usually linked with the brain. According to the American Heart Association, about 5 percent of the U.S. population is affected by brain aneurysms, which occur when the blood vessel wall in the brain is weakened and bulges out.
But many don’t know that less than 80 percent of abdominal aortic aneurysm patients survive once the aorta – which carries blood to and from the abdomen – bursts.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from abdominal aortic aneurysms:
Maintain a healthy blood pressure.
High blood pressure increases your risk of getting this type of aneurysm. Think about it, high blood pressure damages and/or weakens the walls of the aorta, your body’s largest blood vessel. This can set you up for an abdominal aortic aneurysm and, even worse, a rupture.