What Is the Difference Between a Brain Bleed and a Stroke?

A brain bleed is a type of stroke, according to WebMD. Brain bleeds occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, which kills the brain cells around it with leaking blood. The bleeding also increases pressure in the brain, which can cause a lack of essential blood flow.

Several conditions can result in a brain bleed, WebMD states. They include brain tumors, high blood pressure and liver disease. Aneurysms, places in blood vessel walls that weaken and swell, are also a cause. Blood vessel disease and bleeding disorders such as hemophilia also increase the risk. Head trauma is the primary cause of brain bleeds in people under age 50.

Brain bleed symptoms vary depending on the part of the brain affected and the severity of the bleeding, WebMD explains. Symptoms can come on suddenly or get slowly worse over time. General symptoms include a severe headache, seizures, loss of consciousness, difficulty communicating, loss of motor coordination and difficulty swallowing.

A brain bleed is a life-threatening condition that needs to be treated as quickly as possible to increase the chances of a positive outcome, WebMD says. Treatment depends on a variety of factors, and may include surgery or particular medications to reduce swelling.