DEAR ABBY: Please reprint the article about abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) that appeared in May 1997. It saved my life. My internist had told me I didn't have AAA. However, after reading your column, I insisted on having a sonogram. Much to my doctor's surprise -- there it was. Surgery was performed May 2 of last year. I am fine, thanks to you. -- JOAN FELLA, HUNTINGDON VALLEY, PA.
DEAR JOAN: I'm pleased to reprint it. After that column appeared, I received several letters similar to yours. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, my husband's sister had a sonogram to check for a possible gynecological problem. What the doctor discovered was an abdominal aortic aneurysm that was large enough for mandatory surgery.
Her doctor told her to notify any siblings that they, too, should have a sonogram. The unexpected result of my husband's examination stunned us all. Bill, too, had an abdominal aortic aneurysm!
Bill was monitored for one year, until the aneurysm surged significantly. The operation followed a month later. The doctor's insight about the genetic factor probably saved Bill's life.
Please, Abby, inform your readers that aortic aneurysms are hereditary. If a parent or sibling has had one, then all siblings and offspring should be examined. We have been advised that our son must be tested when he reaches age 50 and should continue to have a sonogram every five years thereafter.
The cause of aneurysms is unknown, although several risk factors -- notably hypertension, smoking and atherosclerosis -- could possibly contribute to their development and growth. They have been found to occur more frequently in males than in females. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are silent and usually deadly if not discovered before they rupture. Ruptures are preventable with continued use of ultrasonography and CT scanning.
I hope my letter will be a red alert to anyone whose family has a history of aneurysms. Check with your doctor. Don't put it off! And physicians who are unaware of this should consider including "family history of aneurysms" on their new patient forms. It could save lives. -- BARBARA AND BILL GOLDSMITH, SAVANNAH, GA.
DEAR BARBARA AND BILL: I'm sure your warning will serve as a wake-up call to anyone who has a family history of aortic aneurysms. And another plus is the fact that the test is painless and non-invasive. Thank you for a letter that is sure to be a lifesaver.
DEAR ABBY: A group of women have played cards for more than 30 years. We play for money and have a jackpot for the person with the lowest score at the end of six games.
The last couple of years -- or maybe longer -- one lady seems to win the jackpot quite often. At the end of every game, we count our own cards, and this one lady keeps score. Most of us know she gives us the wrong count in order to win. She has been given a few "hints."
Should we make new rules and have all the players show their cards? It seems a shame after all these years of enjoying the game. Please advise. -- PUT OUT IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR PUT OUT: That's one way to "deal" with it. Another idea might be for the players to pass their cards to the person on the right to be tallied.
Abby shares her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "Abby's More Favorite Recipes." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 per booklet ($4.50 each in Canada) to: Dear Abby Booklets, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)
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