Difference Between an Ischemic and a Hemorrhagic Stroke

According to a survey, it is discovered that each year, around 795,000 people in the United States have strokes, and out of the 137,000 people die.


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Amongst them, 87 percent of the cases are caused by ischemic strokes.

Early symptoms of strokes include sudden numbness in facial muscles or any one side of the body gets weaker, visionary uneasiness and clouded judgments as well as dizziness, and loss of balance.

Ischemic vs Hemorrhagic Stroke

The difference between ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke is that ischemic stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain of the patient is blocked by blood clots or thrombosis, whereas hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain causing hemorrhage inside the patient’s brain. Another difference is that a hemorrhagic stroke patient often faces abnormally painful headaches that can be a sign of the onset of hemorrhagic stroke but none of this is observed in an ischemic stroke patient.

Ischemic vs Hemorrhagic Stroke

Ischemic stroke occurs most commonly in patients who have an excessively noxious lifestyle and who prefer junk food over their own life.

The ischemic stroke is usually the aftereffect of numerous TIAs (Transient ischemic attacks).

When fatty deposits start lining in the vessel walls and fatty plaques are developed into the blood vessels, a phenomenon called ‘atherosclerosis’ occurs.

Hemorrhagic strokes are low in occurrence when compared to ischemic, but are more difficult to treat. It occurs when blood starts accumulating in the brain or between the brain and cranium.

Severe pain is observed in the patient’s head region and this stroke usually causes instant death. There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes; Intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonIschemic StrokeHemorrhagic Stroke
CauseIschemic stroke is caused when blood flow to brain is blocked due to excessive blood clotting or fatty plaque accumulation in blood vessels.It is caused when a blood vessel bursts and causes eruption of blood inside the cranium or inter-cranial crevices causing excessive pain and instant death.
TypesEmbolic strokes, Thrombotic strokes.Subarachnoid haemorrhage, Intracerebral haemorrhage.
SymptomsNumbness and weakness in facial muscles, clouded judgement, sometimes sense of balance is also lost.Severe headaches, changes in vision and nausea, trouble in hearing, seizures.
Percentage with respect to other strokesAround 87 percent of all strokes comprise of ischemic strokes.10-15 percent of all strokes.
TreatmentSurgical methods are preferred like, Angioplasty and stent insertion.It is primarily treated by drug treatment that includes blood pressure reducing catalysts.

What is Ischemic Stroke?

Ischemic stroke is an aftermath of Ischemic heart disease.

It occurs when the human heart doesn’t receive enough blood due to thrombosis or fatty clots (plaques) are formed in the inner lining of the artery causing increased blood pressure in the affected vessel and an eventual decrease in the blood flow rate to both heart and brain.

TIA aka Transient Ischemic Attack is a condition that occurs before an ischemic stroke. The TIA is also known as a ‘mini-stroke’. It has similar symptoms to an ischemic stroke, just a bit milder.

Ischemic diseases are primarily categorized under two major types of strokes, thrombotic and embolic strokes.

The latter is just a severe version of the former where the clot is mobile and can clog any other neighboring vessel.

A Thrombotic Stroke; occurs when a blood vessel is facing high blood flow pressure due to thrombosis. This type of stroke can be prevented by clearing out the clogged vessel using modern treatments like Angioplasty.

Angioplasty is a surgical technique where a metal mesh aka stent is inserted in the blood vessel to prevent it from getting clogged by blood clots and plaques.

Anti-thrombotic agents are also used to slow down the blood clotting ability of RBCs in that region.

What is Hemorrhagic Stroke?

Comprising around 13 percent of all strokes, a hemorrhagic stroke is as lethal as it sounds.

It is caused when a blood vessel is injured and causes the eruption of blood from the torn down region, as a result, the blood fills the outer-vessel region causing hemorrhage followed by a stroke.

The stroke occurs when the regions of hemorrhage are either the heart or the brain.

There are majorly two types of hemorrhagic strokes, Intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

The former is more fatal and it occurs when a blood vessel breaks inside the brain, the latter occurs when a blood vessels bursts on the surface of the brain.

A subarachnoid hemorrhage is comparatively easier to surgically operate than an intracerebral hemorrhage.

The symptoms of hemorrhagic stroke include blurry vision, loss of senses and balance, seizures, vomiting, and numbness in facial muscles as well as locomotory organs like hands and legs.

To immediately act upon a hemorrhagic stroke, it is crucial to inject the patient with blood pressure relaxation agents and control the flow of blood towards the affected blood vessel.

Surgical treatments can be applied once the hemorrhage is brought under control.

Main Differences Between Ischemic and a Hemorrhagic stroke

  1. An ischemic stroke is more common than a hemorrhagic stroke.
  2. Ischemic stroke occurs due to thrombosis (clotting of blood) whereas, a hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to formation of haemorrhoids.
  3. Ischemic strokes are of two types ie: Embolic and thrombotic. A hemorrhagic stroke includes intracerebral and subarachnoid strokes.
  4. Surgical method is preferred in the treatment of ischemic stroke whereas, drug induced treatment is primary aid for hemorrhagic strokes.
  5. An ischemic stroke patient has greater chance of survival than a hemorrhagic stroke affected patient.
Difference Between an Ischemic and a Hemorrhagic Stroke


  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/hemorrhagic-stroke#emergency-treatment
  2. https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/ischemic-vs-hemorrhagic-stroke-perfcon

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