6 Things You Should Know About Strokes

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Stroke in the United States

  • Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths.1
  • On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.2
  • Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.
  • About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
  • About 185,00 strokes—nearly one of four—are in people who have had a previous stroke.2
  • About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, when blood flow to the brain is blocked.2
  • Stroke costs the United States an estimated $34 billion each year.2 This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat stroke, and missed days of work.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.2

Stroke Risk Varies by Race and Ethnicity

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans, but the risk of having a stroke varies with race and ethnicity. Risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high for blacks than for whites, and blacks are more likely to die following a stroke than are whites.2 Hispanics’ risk for stroke falls between that of whites and blacks.2 American Indians, Alaska Natives, and blacks are more likely to have had a stroke than are other groups.3

Stroke Risk Varies by Age

Although stroke risk increases with age, strokes can—and do—occur at any age. In 2009, 34% of people hospitalized for stroke were younger than 65 years.4

Stroke Deaths Vary by Geography

Early Action Is Important for Stroke

Know the warning signs and symptoms of stroke so that you can act fast if you or someone you know might be having a stroke. The chances of survival are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly.

  • In a 2005 survey, most respondents—93%—recognized sudden numbness on one side as a symptom of stroke. Only 38% were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a stroke.5
  • Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of their first symptoms tend to have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who received delayed care.6

Americans at Risk for Stroke

An elderly man and woman with a wheelchair.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are major risk factors for stroke. About half of Americans(49%) have at least one of these three risk factors.7Several other medical conditions and unhealthy lifestyle choices can increase your risk for stroke.

Although you can’t control all of your risk factors for stroke, you can take steps to prevent stroke and its complications.

 

Source: stroke.org

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