Dr. Dre's Brain Aneurysm Explained

55-year-old music legend Dr. Dre is being treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after experiencing a brain aneurysm on Monday (via TMZ). While doctors are unsure what caused the aneurysm, Dr. Dre is currently stable and undergoing testing.

Known medically as an intracranial or cerebral aneurysm, brain aneurysms are bulges in a blood vessel located at weak spots in the arterial wall (via National Health Service). Most aneurysms look like a berry hanging off of a vine and are identified by their distinctive shape. Typically, aneurysms go untreated and unnoticed unless picked up on a scan for another condition. They tend not to cause any symptoms until they rupture.

Ruptured brain aneurysms cause sudden, severe headaches. These are often accompanied by photosensitivity, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting. Unfortunately, three out of five patients with ruptured aneurysms die within two weeks, and of those who survive, half experience severe brain damage. A ruptured brain aneurysm is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

What causes a brain aneurysm?

While unable to pinpoint the exact causes of a brain aneurysm, doctors have identified several risk factors that increase the chances of one occurring. According to WebMD, they tend to be more common after age 40 and occur more frequently in women. The differences in gender seem to be due to a drop in women's estrogen levels as they age (via Healthline). The most closely correlated risk factors are brain trauma, smoking, high blood pressure, and a family history of aneurysms.

With case numbers spiking near Dr. Dre's residence in Los Angeles, some fans are speculating that brain aneurysms may be a harrowing and little-discussed side effect of COVID-19. These theories come after the sudden death of State Representative Mike Reese, who died of a brain aneurysm earlier this week after being diagnosed with COVID-19 (via Philadelphia Inquirer). A study conducted in the United Kingdom last summer found that patients infected with COVID-19 had a higher instance of a rare neurological condition (via Healthline), the complications of which include stroke and brain inflammation.

As for now, Dr. Dre is stable and reassured fans on social media that he would "be home soon" (via KTLA). He expressed thanks to his medical team and well-wishers, assuring followers that he was getting "excellent care." His team has so far not provided any further information.