Embolism Versus Aneurysm: What's The Difference?

Embolism is a condition that leads to blockage in the arteries because of an air bubble or blood clot, according to The National Health Service (NHS). As a result, it may disrupt the delivery of fresh oxygenated blood to your vital organs. The consequences of embolism blood clots could be serious if the problem persists. Due to the continuous lack of fresh oxygenated blood, organs, such as the brain or lungs, could lose their functionality. 

About one in every 1,000 individuals in the U.S. may experience symptoms of pulmonary embolism (via American Lung Association). However, with time and proper medication, most can recover. On the other hand, an aneurysm is a condition that develops a lump in the arterial wall (per WebMD). If an aneurysm occurs in one of the vital organs, such as the brain, stomach, or heart, it can be worse than if it showed up in other areas of the body. In the worst-case scenario, an aneurysm may burst, resulting in internal bleeding or even a stroke. Keep in mind, around 6% of Americans contain an aneurysm in the brain that isn't bleeding, according to Cleveland Clinic.

The difference between embolism and aneurysm

Embolisms and aneurysms are both health conditions that lead to problems with blood flow, according to Healthline. They could cause damage to your vital organs and even be fatal if proper attention isn't given right away. Many of their symptoms are similar as well. For instance, with both conditions, patients might experience extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, irregular heartbeat, and confusion. 

However, there are significant differences between the two, especially in how the blood stops flowing. While an embolism is mostly caused by the development of a blood clot, an aneurysm is caused by a tear in the vessel. Each condition also differs when it comes to the type of treatment needed. For those with an embolism, your doctor may inject a blood thinner to promptly disperse the lump. As far as aneurysms go, your physician may recommend surgery or medication, as per WebMD.