Lee Broadway was enjoying her day until a severe headache took over. She called her husband Eric and told him “I have the worst headache of my life,” and it turned out to also be her last. In addition to a sudden debilitating headache, Lee began to lose feeling in one of her legs. Once Eric brought her to the emergency room, doctors used a CT scan to identify that Lee had a broken blood vessel in her brain. In just 2 days, Lee died from a brain aneurysm.
Lee Broadway’s Story
It is no surprise that Lee Broadway a mother of 4, suffered from high blood pressure, (most mothers can agree that parenting multiple children can be stressful!) High blood pressure is a major risk factor for aneurysms like hers.
When Eric and Lee rushed to the emergency room, doctors gave her a CT scan and found a broken blood vessel in her brain, then sent her to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina for specialized care.
At Novant Hospital, her husband, witnessing her pain, said, “all she is doing is begging for them to take away her pain. It is hard to hear her screaming for help.”
Lee’s medical team described her aneurysm as ranking only 2 out 5 and decided to perform a common surgery to treat it. To prevent the blood from flowing near an aneurysm and causing it to burst, doctors performed an endovascular embolization procedure, which involves placing a metal coil in the damaged blood vessel to stop the flow of blood in the damaged area.[i]
This is a short video of the surgery Lee went through:
However, the metal coil didn’t stay in place, causing severe complications. Lee was left brain dead until she passed away on April 3rd. According to Dr. Mark Bain, a neurosurgeon at Cleveland Clinic, Lee’s case is extremely uncommon; less than 1% of aneurysms are at risk of erupting in this way.
Lee’s husband is mourning her death but carries on, “I don’t have time to be down, I have to be there for my kids,” he says.
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What Causes Brain Aneurysms?
Aneurysms are the result of weak blood vessels from fatty deposits and blockages which could provoke higher blood pressure and more effort from your heart to pump blood through these blood vessels. If the heart pumps too hard, it will damage the blood vessels, leaving them vulnerable. Once damaged enough, bubbles start to develop on the walls of your tissues, risking a rupture and life-threatening internal bleeding.[ii]
Some things that can trigger these aneurysms are: [iii]
- Excessive exercise
- Coffee and soda
- Straining during bowel movements
- Intense anger
You may be at risk for an aneurysm if you: [iv]
- Are obese
- Abuse drugs
- Have high blood pressure
Managing these risk factors and avoiding triggers is crucial if you’ve had aneurysms before or people in your family have suffered from them. Symptoms emerge quickly and can be very severe. These symptoms include:[v] [vi]
- Internal bleeding
- Increased heart rate
- Severe headaches
- Light sensitivity
If these symptoms occur, get to a hospital immediately to be monitored, because you might have to go through surgery. However, surgery can cause a lot of problems, so with a doctor’s approval and a less severe aneurysm consider adhering to a healthy diet and lifestyle first.
As surgery should always be a last resort, you need to develop a healthy lifestyle to reduce risks of aneurysms and rupturing. To do so:
- Avoid smoking, drugs, and alcohol abuse, as these damage your circulatory system by weakening blood vessels.[vii]
- Stop eating fatty diets which involve a lot of cholesterol. It damages your arteries and causes atherosclerosis.[viii]
- Improve your diet with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein.[ix]
- Exercise regularly but not excessively to promote a good circulatory system and to avoid aneurysms.[x]
- Lower your blood pressure naturally and watch this Dr. Axe Video to learn how:
Suffering from an aneurysm can be lethal and leave your loved ones in a trail of sorrow. Take the right steps to improve your circulatory system and limit the risk factors of getting debilitating, possibly life-ending aneurysms.
[i] Underwood C. Endovascular Embolization. Healthlinecom. 2016. Available at: o http://www.healthline.com/health/aneurysm-in-the-brain#treatment7. Accessed May 3, 2017.
[ii] Macon B, Solan M. Aneurysm. Healthline. 2015. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/aneurysm#overview1. Accessed May 3, 2017.
[iii] Macon B, Jewell T, Solan M. Brain Aneurysm. Healthline. 2016. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/aneurysm-in-the-brain#types2. Accessed May 3, 2017.
[iv] Macon B, Solan M. Aneurysm. Healthline. 2015. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/aneurysm#overview1. Accessed May 3, 2017.
[vi] Brain Aneurysm-Topic Overview. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/brain-aneurysm-topic-overview#1. Accessed May 3, 2017.
[vii] Macon B, Jewell T, Solan M. Brain Aneurysm. Healthline. 2016. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/aneurysm-in-the-brain#types2. Accessed May 3, 2017.
[viii] Macon B, Jewell T, Solan M. Brain Aneurysm. Healthline. 2016. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/aneurysm-in-the-brain#types2. Accessed May 3, 2017.
[x] Macon B, Jewell T, Solan M. Brain Aneurysm. Healthline. 2016. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/aneurysm-in-the-brain#types2. Accessed May 3, 2017.
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