What Is the Difference Between an Ischemic Stroke and a Hemorrhagic Stroke?

About 795,000 people in the United States experience a stroke every year. While anyone can experience a stroke, men over 55 are at a higher risk, as are individuals with a family history of strokes or heart attacks

All strokes are emergencies requiring immediate treatment and care. Strokes cause a lack of blood flow to the brain, essentially starving the brain of nutrients. Restoring circulation to the brain is critical, and a rapid response is vital to reducing brain damage and the likelihood of death or debilitating disability.

There are two main types of strokes, and while their symptoms are similar, their treatment options may be are very different. 

What Is an Ischemic Stroke?

The majority of strokes in the U.S. are ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes result from an interruption of blood flow to the brain, typically due to a blood clot or a blockage in an artery. 

Just a few minutes of oxygen deprivation, or ischemia, can kill millions of neurons. This type of stroke can also cause swelling and inflammation in the brain that can continue to cause damage for hours or even days after the initial stroke. 

While obstructive blood clots are the most common cause of ischemic strokes, they can also occur due to the hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. As the arteries build up cholesterol and fatty deposits that harden to become plaque, the plaque can rupture to become a blood clot.


One type of ischemic stroke is a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or a mini-stroke. A TIA forms a temporary blood flow blockage to the brain and usually lasts only a few minutes. Often, a TIA serves as a warning sign that an ischemic stroke could happen soon. 

What Is a Hemorrhagic Stroke?

A hemorrhagic stroke is less common than an ischemic stroke. Hemorrhagic strokes result from a ruptured blood vessel that causes blood to pool in the brain. As the blood accumulates, it puts pressure on the brain tissue. 

Conditions like chronic hypertension, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, or structural abnormalities can weaken blood vessels and increase the likelihood of experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke. 

Recognizing a Stroke

Symptoms of a stroke are similar, regardless of the type. The acronym F-A-S-T can help you spot the signs of a stroke:

  • Facial drooping or an uneven smile
  • Arm weakness, or one arm drifting downward when raising both arms
  • Speech difficulty or slurred speech
  • Time to call 911, even if symptoms subside

Recognizing a stroke and responding quickly can significantly reduce subsequent brain damage or even save a life.

This post was written by a medical professional at https://www.stemedix.com. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.