Celebrities Living with Disabilities: Brain Aneurysms

Celebrities Living with Disabilities: Brain Aneurysms

Celebrities touch our lives through the things they create, so it is easy to forget that they deal with many of the same health conditions and disabilities we do. Today, we share another blog in our series on Celebrities with Long-Term Disabilities, with a focus on brain aneurysms. Click here to read other posts in the series, on Skin Cancer, Lyme Disease, Lupus and Diabetes.

A brain (cerebral) aneurysm is a bulging, weak area in the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain. Brain aneurysms often cause no symptoms at all and go unnoticed, but in rare cases they rupture and release blood into the skull. This release of blood can cause a stroke. Most brain aneurysms occur in the network of blood vessels at the base of the brain called the circle of Willis. Brain aneurysms can be genetic, or they can develop as a result of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and aging.

Many people suffer from brain aneurysms and some fare better than others. Two notable celebrities who have had terrible aneurysms are Sharon Stone and Neil Young. Sharon Stone’s recovery story is quite remarkable:

In 2001, I had a massive brain hemorrhage. I bled in my brain for nine days. I spent two years learning to walk and talk again. It’s been a humbling journey. I can talk about it now because I’m okay now. – Sharon Stone

Neil Young’s story is equally remarkable, though he caught his aneurysm unruptured, at first. Young details his experience in his memoir Waging Heavy Peace.

I noticed this weird thing in my eye, like a piece of broken glass. Then I noticed that no matter what I did, it was still there. And then it started getting bigger. So I went to my doctor, had an MRI and the next morning I went to the neurologist. He says, “The good news is, you’re here, you’re looking good. The bad news is, you’ve got an aneurysm in your brain. You’ve had it for a hundred years, so it’s nothing to worry about – but it’s very serious, so we’ll have to get rid of it right away. – Neil Young

 

Young had surgery soon afterwards, but his aneurysm ruptured, causing a life-threatening situation.  

Like Young’s aneurysm, most brain aneurysms have no symptoms for years, and are discovered during tests for unrelated conditions. Sometimes unruptured aneurysms cause problems by pressing on areas of the brain. If this happens, the patient may suffer from severe headaches, blurred vision, changes in speech, and neck pain, depending on the affected areas of the brain and how severe the aneurysm is. Symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm can arise quickly after the event. Call EMS services right away if you notice a sudden severe headache, neck pain, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, fainting and loss of consciousness and seizures.

If you are concerned that you may have a brain aneurysm, the following tests can be used to detect on: CT scans; CTA scans, MRA scans; and cerebral angiograms. Your age, the size of the aneurysm in your brain, additional risk factors and your health in general will be considered before treatment can be determined.

 

Were you surprised by any of the celebrities who’ve had brain aneurysms? Do you know any other celebrities who have experienced them?

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