He didn’t have to die.
That’s what keeps running through our minds. Still. After all these years.
A simple ultrasound scan of his belly could have told him that he had a ballooning blood vessel that was likely to burst. And then it did. And he died.
We, his family, wish we had known more. Wish we had done more. Wish we had found a way to keep him with us. Because we weren’t ready to lose him. Yes, he had lived a full life. But there were so many more years ahead, we thought. Years of grandchildren’s weddings and noisy, happy Thanksgiving dinners. Years of sentimental birthday celebrations and goofy Father’s Day cards.
So today, we tell everyone about abdominal aortic aneurysms. AAA sounds so complicated, but it really is just like a balloon that bursts, that causes internal bleeding- and death. It’s called a silent killer because there are no symptoms. Which means that everyone should get scanned-especially people who smoke (or used to smoke), have high blood pressure and are over age 60.
It’s the third leading cause of sudden death in men, probably because people don’t know they have it. An ultrasound scan is the only way to find this aneurysm, but there is good news: there are new kinds of surgery that can keep it from bursting.
This silent killer doesn’t have to take the life of your father, brother, sister or other loved one.