What is the difference between a stroke and a brain aneurysm?

An aneurysm is an abnormality in the blood vessel that can lead to a stroke, says Muhammad Taqi, MD, from Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center. Find out about the different kinds of strokes in this informational video.
An aneurysm and a stroke have one big factor in common: they are both conditions due to problems with blood vessels in and around the brain. However, there are differences.

An aneurysm has to do with the weakening of a wall of a blood vessel, usually an artery. The weakening in the vascular wall can result in a bulging or blood-filled sac. The blood in this sac can clot, break free and form an obstruction that can lodge elsewhere and prevent necessary blood flow. Aneurysms usually occur in the aorta, the body's largest artery. But they can also frequently occur in the brain.

A stroke occurs when brain cells start to die from a lack of oxygen-rich blood. Sudden bleeding in the brain can also cause a stroke if brain cells are damaged. Stroke symptoms can include sudden weakness, paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, or legs; and trouble speaking or seeing.

Both a stroke and an aneurysm are serious medical conditions that require emergency care.

Continue Learning about Brain Aneurysms

Brain Aneurysms

The arteries in the brain occasionally develop a weak spot or bulge, which is called an aneurysm. The concern is that it can burst or rupture at that weak spot, causing blood to leak into the brain, a brain aneurysm hemorrhage. A ...

rupture is very serious, often fatal or leaving permanent paralysis and disability. Doctors detect aneurysms with various scans. There are two surgical treatments that reduce the risk of rupture. One is open brain surgery (craniotomy) the other, less invasive, is endovascular surgery. Which is appropriate depends on where the aneurysm is located. An aneurysm is a very serious medical condition and requires immediate attention.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.