Hemorrhagic vs ischemic stroke

Hemorrhagic vs ischemic stroke

Ischemic stroke is a consequence of blocked blood supply to any part of the brain, while hemorrhagic stroke occurs secondary to bleeding in the brain due to burst blood vessels. Both the strokes are treated differently after diagnosis by the Best Neurologist in Lahore. Read on to know more about hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes:

What is a stroke?

Stroke constitutes interrupted blood supply to the brain, followed by damage to the brain cells that can cause lasting disability and even death. Strokes—both ischemic and hemorrhagic—deprive parts of the brain from oxygen and glucose. Stroke is a serious medical condition, treatment for which is time sensitive. Immediate treatment is needed to restore the blood supply to the brain and every minute counts when it comes to stroke management.

What are the types of hemorrhagic stroke?

The two main types of strokes are:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke: strokes caused by bleeding vessels are more serious than ischemic ones. Hemorrhagic strokes constitute 13 percent of all strokes.  
  • Ischemic stroke: these strokes are caused by blocked blood vessels, and are much more common. These strokes constitute 87 percent of all strokes.

What are ischemic strokes and its types?

Ischemic strokes result from blocked blood vessels, due to which the brain tissue and neurons begin to die. As mentioned before, this blockage of vessels can interrupt the blood flow to the brain tissue, depriving the brain of oxygen and glucose, and causing millions of neurons to die during this process. In addition, the ischemia results in edema, and inflammatory cascade that cause further damage after the initial insult.

Ischemic stroke is further sub-divided into:

  • Thrombotic strokes: these are clots that form in the blood vessels of the brain particularly in older individuals with high serum cholesterol, diabetes and atherosclerosis. These strokes are sudden and often preceded by warning “mini-strokes” called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) that last for a few minutes.   
  • Embolic strokes: these are the clots that develop elsewhere in the body and travel to the brain. Risk factors of embolic strokes include: heart disease, heart surgery, atrial fibrillation and other prothrombotic states.

What are hemorrhagic strokes and its types?

Hemorrhage is the result of rupture of blood vessels inside the brain that cause bleeds. These bleeds put pressure on the surrounding tissue, and there is localized irritation and swelling along with oxygen deprivation and brain damage.

Hemorrhagic stroke is further subdivided into:

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: this is the bleed occurring in the space between the membranes that cover the brain and the brain itself. Risk factors of this type of hemorrhage include serious arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and aneurysms. Aneurysms are ballooned regions in blood vessels, caused by weakened arterial walls that predispose to rupture. Aneurysms are congenital or acquired through smoking, atherosclerosis and high blood pressures. AVMs are also congenital disorders in which there is tangled web of veins and arteries.
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage: as the name implies, intracerebral hemorrhage is caused by sudden bleeding from the vessels inside the brain. This bleeding is often a consequence of uncontrolled high blood pressure, and is severe enough to cause coma, disability and even death.

What are the warning signs of stroke?

The acronym F-A-S-T is used to spot someone who is having a stroke.

F-Face drooping

Someone who is undergoing a stroke will have a lopsided smile and one side of their face will be numb and drooping.

A-Arm weakness

In people undergoing ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, one arm drifts down when they are both raised.

S-Speech difficulties

In acute stroke, the patient has slurred speech that is difficult to understand.

T-time to call for help

If the first three signs are present, or were present, immediate help from the healthcare provider must be sought.

What are the treatment options?

Strokes are treated by neurologists based on their type. For ischemic strokes, anticoagulant therapy is initiated, while blood pressure control and surgery are the main options for hemorrhagic strokes. You can consult a neurologist through oladoc.com.