March 10, 2004 at 11:43 PM CST - Updated June 26 at 4:17 PM
Ladies, here’s a warning for the men in your life. They may be at risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm and not even know it.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is when the largest artery in your body, the aorta, starts to bulge or balloon. It often happens to men over 40 who suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or have a family history of aneurysms. It's very common and can be deadly because most men don't know they have it.
Jim Toman is a 56-year-old insurance agent in Tyler. He considers himself a pretty healthy guy. He eats right and exercises. But one morning on the way to work, he says he started feeling uneasy.
"It wasn't really pain as much as a coldness I felt throughout my body, and of course, your mind plays games with you. I was telling myself I was having a heart attack," Jim says.
He immediately went to see his doctor, who told him the problem wasn't with his heart, but with his aortic vessel. He had an aneurysm.
"It's a blood vessel under a high amount of pressure," explains MedTeam Doctor Ed Dominguez.
Dr. Dominguez says an abdominal aortic aneurysm can dissect or rupture the main artery in your body.
"Which means blood can collect between the aneurysm and outside wall and shut down the aneurysm and blood flow. Or it can rupture and blood would be coming out of it and that can kill you in seconds," says Dr. Ed.
"I call it the grace of God. No question in my mind," says Jim.
Jim adds if he hadn't followed his instincts and went to the doctor when he started feeling badly, he might not be here today. Abdominal aortic aneurysms kill 15,000 men every year, but they don't have too.
"All you have to do is get screened. All it takes is an ultrasound," says Dr. Ed.
You can sign up for a screening at your doctor's office or at ETMC or MotherFrancesHospital.