A simple thumb test can indicate whether you have an aortic aneurysm

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A simple thumb test can be used to identify people who are at risk for a condition that can kill within minutes and have no symptoms.

It indicates whether a person has an aortic aneurysm – an abnormal bulge in the wall of the great blood vessel that can be fatal if not noticed.

An aortic aneurysm can cause discomfort, but most people are unaware they have one until it is picked up on a scan.

Worryingly, if it ruptures it will cause massive internal bleeding, which is usually fatal.

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Here's the test: Hold up your hand as if telling someone to stop (1).  With your palm flat, extend your thumb over it as far as it will go, toward your little finger.  If your thumb reaches the center of the palm (2), this is normal.  However, if it extends beyond the edge of your hand (3), researchers say it could be a sign of an aortic aneurysm and you should get it checked out.

Here’s the test: Hold up your hand as if telling someone to stop (1). With your palm flat, extend your thumb over it as far as it will go, toward your little finger. If your thumb reaches the center of the palm (2), this is normal. However, if it extends beyond the edge of your hand (3), researchers say it could be a sign of an aortic aneurysm and you should get it checked out.

WHAT ARE AORTIC ANEURYSMS AND WHY ARE THEY SO DEADLY?

In 2016, 1,670 British men 65 and older were killed by aneurysms that suddenly burst, making it a bigger cause of death than many cancers, including skin, testicular or thyroid.

Fifty percent of people with a ruptured aneurysm die before they reach hospital, and of those who make it, the average chance of surviving surgery is only 50-50.

An aortic aneurysm can cause discomfort, but most people are unaware they have one until it is picked up on a scan.

When it ruptures, it causes massive internal bleeding, which is usually fatal.

No one knows for sure the cause, but smoking is involved and it is associated with hardening of the arteries.

High-fat diets and obesity also increase the risk of blood vessel bursting.

The long-term prognosis for aneurysm patients is excellent, but smoking cessation is essential.

The self-conducted test, suggested by a study in the American Journal of Cardiology, is easy to fill in.

All you have to do is raise your hand as if you were telling someone to stop. With your palm flat, extend your thumb over it as far as it will go, toward your little finger.

If your thumb reaches past the edge of your hand, researchers say it could be a sign of a hidden aortic aneurysm and you should get it checked out by a doctor.

Being able to move the thumb in this way could be an indication that a patient’s long bones are excessive and their joints are lax – possible signs of connective tissue disease throughout the body, including the aorta, the researchers said.

However, not everyone who can do this will turn out to have the condition.

It can also take a long time for the aortic aneurysm to rupture.

“The main problem with aneurysm disease is recognizing affected individuals within the general population before the aneurysm ruptures,” said Dr. John A. Elefteriades, a senior author on the study and director emeritus of the Aortic Institute at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

Our study showed that the majority of aneurysm patients do not show a positive thumb-palm sign, but patients who have a positive test are more likely to have an aneurysm. ‘

Dr. Elefteriades believes that while the test is not a sufficient tool to confirm the diagnosis, it is worthy of being included in standard physical examination, especially for people with a family history of an aortic aneurysm.

“Spreading knowledge of this test could potentially identify silent aneurysm carriers and save lives,” he added.

Fifty percent of people with a ruptured aneurysm die before they reach hospital, and of those who make it, the average chance of surviving surgery is only 50-50.

It’s an assassin because patients can be symptom-free until it ruptures and becomes an emergency.

Aortic aneurysms overwhelmingly affect men in their late 50s and older.

No one knows for sure the cause, but smoking is involved and it is associated with hardening of the arteries. High-fat diets and obesity also increase the risk of blood vessel bursting.

The thumb test is recommended as a way to identify ascending aortic aneurysms, the part of the blood vessel that emerges from the heart. However, an aneurysm can occur in various parts of the aorta, including the abdominal portion that opens into the arteries in the legs.

Because an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) can also have devastating consequences, a free NHS screening is offered for men over the age of 65 to measure the size of the aorta.

The thumb test shows whether a person has an aortic aneurysm - an abnormal bulge in the wall of the great blood vessel that can be fatal if not noticed

The thumb test shows whether a person has an aortic aneurysm – an abnormal bulge in the wall of the great blood vessel that can be fatal if not noticed

However, figures from last year suggest that one in five men in England most at risk will not attend the screening.

A simple 10-minute abdominal ultrasound looks for swelling in the blood vessel – with that as a key indicator of an aneurysm.

Any man registered with a primary care physician will receive a letter inviting him to be screened the year he turns 65, or a scan can be requested by contacting a local screening service directly.

Women and younger men are not invited to the screening because 95 percent of torn AAAs occur in men 65 and older.

In 2016, 1,670 British men 65 and older were killed by aneurysms that suddenly burst, making it a bigger cause of death than many cancers, including skin, testicular or thyroid.

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