eli5: what is the difference between a stroke and an aneurysm?

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eli5: what is the difference between a stroke and an aneurysm?

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Stroke: when a blood vessel rapture in the brain, or there is blockage in any kind

Aneurysm: blockage/rapture in blood vessels in any part of the body

As a layperson –

A stroke is a “disruption” in normal blood flow. For example caused by a blockage in a blood vessel due to a clot. Some strokes are associated with a break in a blood vessel which a. causes a disruption in normal blood flow because the blood isn’t getting to where it’s supposed to go and b. the leaking blood can now exert pressure on the surrounding tissue. This is called a “hemorrhagic stroke” (a hemorrhage is a break in a blood vessel)

An aneurysm is a abnormal swelling of a blood vessel due to, for example, a weakening of the vessel’s walls. This causes what is essentially a “balloon” of blood in the region. This can cause damage because A. it’ll exert pressure on the surrounding tissues and B. the weakening is likely to eventually *break,* bursting the blood balloon and causing massive, rapid blood loss.

So there is some overlap in the conditions, both can cause damage to the surrounding tissues by pressing against them (squeezing them essentially) AND both can be associated with a hemorrhage that causes blood loss and additional squeezing on the surrounding tissues.

To add to other posts: Stroke occurs when the brain is starved for oxygen (via blood). This can happen if the blood stops flowing (your arteries are blocked) or the blood is leaking out (in the case of a burst aneurysm)

Thus, aneurysms can lead to strokes, but not all strokes are due to aneurysms. Also, aneurysms can happen anywhere in the body there is a blood vessel.

An aneurysm is a weak spot in a blood vessel, which balloons out under pressure. They can occur anywhere in the body. If one in the brain bursts, it can cause a type of stroke called a “hemorrhagic stroke”. Aneurysms generally result from high blood pressure over time, although they can be genetic. The rupture is usually from trauma.

A “stroke” is tissue damage in the brain caused by disturbing the blood flow. It’s the same as a pulmonary embolism in the lung, or a myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the heart. The difference is that it is in the brain.

There’s two types of stroke: hemorrhagic and ischemic (lack of oxygen due to blockage). Hemorrhagic strokes cause damage because 1) the necessary blood is flowing out of the vessel instead of reaching vital tissue and 2) nerve tissue can actually be irritated by blood. Ischemic strokes are far more common and the tissue damage is die to lack of oxygen and build up of waste. Nerve tissue is extremely sensitive to lack of oxygen.