Difference Between Stroke and Aneurysm

Stroke and aneurysm are two medical conditions that can occur due to atherosclerotic plaque (deposition of bad fat and other substances in the lining of the artery wall). The atherosclerotic plaque limits the blood supply to the brain, heart or any other part of the body which leads to a stroke or aneurysm. Both stroke and aneurysm are medical emergencies that involve the rupturing of a blood vessel. While a stroke is particularly related to the brain, an aneurysm can occur anywhere in the vascular tree of the body.

A stroke is normally preceded with certain comorbid risk factors, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. While in the case of an aneurysm the rupture takes place with no previous history. Furthermore, a stroke shows some specific signs and symptoms such as dizziness, numbness or paralysis of the face, an arm, leg or entire side of the body. An aneurysm occurs without symptoms and the patient feels the condition only after it has ruptured. An aneurysm causes symptoms to the CSF or the blood in the arachnoid, while a stroke does not.

The treatment for a stroke normally involves medical aid, while the treatment of an aneurysm mostly requires surgery of the affected part. Moreover, the former is a medical emergency and requires urgent management, while the latter can not be observed unless it has ruptured or is at risk of rupturing.


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    Stroke, also called brain attack, cerebral infraction or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a very serious condition in which the entire brain or some parts of it stop functioning due to disturbance in the blood supply. This can be due to ischemia (an obstruction in the vessels) or due to haemorrhage (bleeding in to the brain cranial cavity). As a result, a part of the brain stops functioning properly, which may result in difficulty or inability to move limbs or the entire side of the body. The patient may also feel difficulty in understanding or formulating speech.

    - Image courtesy: wisegeek.com

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    An aneurysm is a medical condition caused by abnormal widening of an artery, anywhere in the body, due to the weakness in the walls of the blood vessels. Aneurysm mostly occur in the cerebral vessels, the abdominal aorta and popliteal arteries. When cerebral vessels are affected, it is called a subarachnoid haemorrhage as it gives symptoms similar to a stroke. The management of a ruptured aneurysm depends on the location of the affected vessels but it mostly requires medical management with surgical intervention.

    - Image courtesy: surgery.med.miami.edu

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