AAA Home Care
Home care of an abdominal aortic aneurysm may include:
- Stop smoking
- Do not chew tobacco
- Avoid exposure to secondary smoke
- Eat a healthy heart diet:
- Low cholesterol diet.
- Low fat diet.
- Eat high quality fats.
- Low salt diet.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fats
- If you have been prescribed medications to control high cholesterol, so not skip doses.
- Follow an exercise plan developed with your doctor
- Weight loss if you are overweight.
- Take any prescribed heart medications as directed:
- Don't miss doses of your medications
- Be aware of potential drug side effects
- Learn how to take your blood pressure.
- If you have high blood pressure, don't skip doses of your medication
- Check your blood pressure every day:
- If you have diabetes:
- Check your blood sugar every day.
- Keep a log of your results.
- Take your diabetes medication as directed
- Learn how to take your own pulse.
- Control chronic stress and anxiety
- Let your doctor know if you are suffering from severe or prolonged depression.
- Avoid alcohol, or drink alcohol in moderation:
- For men: no more than 2 alcoholic beverages per day
- For women: no more than 1 alcoholic beverage per day
- Report a rapid or irregular pulse to your doctor.
AAA BP Checks
Regular blood pressure monitoring is important for anyone with an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Early detection and treatment of high blood pressure can help prevent heart damage.
Taking your Blood Pressure
A number of devices are available for home blood pressure measurement. Digital blood pressure devices are easy to use: they automatically calculate the pulse and display the systolic and diastolic pressures. However, a simple blood pressure cuff with a stethoscope is the most accurate way to measure blood pressure.
Tips for Obtaining an Accurate Blood Pressure
- Remain seated or lying flat with the arm supported at heart level.
- No smoking or caffeine for 30 minutes prior to measurement.
- Rest for 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
- The blood pressure air bladder should nearly encircle the arm: persons with large arms may require an extra large adult cuff. Cuffs are usually marked to indicate the acceptable size range.
- Apply cuff 1/2 inch above elbow crease.
- Locate brachial pulse and place the stethoscope bell at this location.
- With the valve closed, pump up cuff bulb to approximately 210 mm Hg, or a point where no sounds are heard through the stethoscope.
- Open the valve slowly (2-3 mm Hg per second) and listen for the point where the tapping sounds are first heard. The corresponding reading on the dial is the systolic pressure.
- Then, listen for the point where the tapping sounds stop. The corresponding reading on the dial is the diastolic pressure.
- Perform two more readings per session, separated by 5 minutes.
- The blood pressure must be elevated during at least 3 separate sessions to diagnose hypertension.
Systolic Pressure Guideline for Adults
|Systolic Blood Pressure||Assessment|
|Over 140-159||Hypertension Stage 1|
|160 or higher||Hypertension Stage 2|
Diastolic Pressure Guideline for Adults
|Diastolic Blood Pressure||Assessment|
|90-99||Hypertension Stage 1|
|100 or higher||Hypertension Stage 2|
Strategies for a healthy diet in someone with an abdominal aortic aneurysm includes:
- Limit your intake of fat to 30% of your total calories.
- 10% to 15% of your total calories should be in the form of monounsaturated fats such as:
- olive oil
- canola oil
- peanut oil
- Consume only unsaturated fats that are low in cholesterol.
- Consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day.
- Eat dietary fiber: whole grains are best.
- Avoid fad diets.
- Check with your doctor about B vitamin supplements. Some people may benefit from B vitamins.
Key Dietary Recommendations for Chronic Disease Prevention
|Energy (calories)||to maintain BMI < 25|
|Total fats||< or = to 30% of total daily calories|
|Saturated fats||< 7% of total daily calories|
|Polyunsaturated fats||< 10% of total daily calories|
|Monounsaturated fats||< 13% of total daily calories|
|Cholesterol||< or = to 300 mg per day|
|Dietary fiber||25-30 grams per day|
|Fiber type||3:1 insoluble to soluble fiber|
|Sodium||< or = to 1,500 mg per day|
|Calcium 9-24 yrs||1,200-1,500 mg per day|
|Calcium 25-50 yrs||1,000 mg per day|
|Calcium 51-65 yrs||1,200 mg per day|
|Calcium >65 yrs||1,500 mg per day|
|Vitamin D 9-50 yrs||200 IU per day|
|Vitamin D 51-70 yrs||400 IU per day|
|Vitamin D >70 yrs||600 IU per day|
|Folic acid||400 micrograms (ug) per day|
|Fruits & vegetables||5-7 servings per day|
|Alcohol (men)||< or = to 2 drinks per day|
|Alcohol (women)||< or = to 1 drink per day|
Continue to AAA Prevention
- Ailawadi G, Eliason JL, Upchurch GR Jr: Current concepts in the pathogenesis of abdominal aortic aneurysm. J Vasc Surg 2003 Sep; 38(3): 584-8. 
- Fleming C, Whitlock EP, Beil TL, Lederle FA. Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm: a best-evidence systematic review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med. 2005 Feb 1;142(3):203-11. 
- Isselbacher EM. Thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms. Circulation. 2005 Feb 15;111(6):816-28. 
- Lyon C, Clark DC. Diagnosis of acute abdominal pain in older patients. Am Fam Physician. 2006 Nov 1;74(9):1537-44. 
- Sakalihasan N, Limet R, Defawe OD. Abdominal aortic aneurysm. Lancet. 2005 Apr 30-May 6;365(9470):1577-89.