- Approximately 795,000 Americans each year suffer a stroke; about 600,000 of these are first time incidents and 185,000 are recurrent attacks.
- Stroke kills more than 140,000 Americans each year; it is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
- Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.
- Almost three-quarters of strokes occur in people over the age of 65. In fact, a person’s risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55. But one in four strokes happen to people under the age of 65.
- Between 1995 and 2005, the stroke death rate fell by 30 percent and the actual number of stroke deaths declined by 14 percent.
- High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke.
- A person’s risk of stroke doubles if they are a current smoker
Use the American Heart Association’s memory tool called F.A.S.T. to recognize when to call for medical help:
F: Facial drooping
A: Arm weakness
S: Slurring of speech
T: Time to call 911.
A stroke is a medical emergency but quick treatment can save your life or increase your chances for a full recovery. If you believe that you or someone you know may be experiencing a stroke, immediately call 911.
Can I Prevent a Stroke?
Up to 50 percent of all strokes are preventable with lifestyle regulation.
Keeping these risk factors in check can decrease your chance of having a stroke:
- High blood pressure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Abusing alcohol
- Existing carotid and/or coronary artery disease
It is a good idea to keep the controllable factors in check because there are uncontrollable risk factors:
- Age (People over age 65)
- Gender (Men have more strokes, women have deadlier strokes)
- Race (African-Americans are at increased risk)
- Family history of stroke
If you have questions about your risk for stroke, speak with your doctor.
Sometimes, people experience warning signs before a stroke occurs. These are called transient ischemic attacks (also called TIA or “mini-stroke”), brief episodes of the stroke symptoms listed above. A TIA is when a blockage, caused by a clot, is temporary. These leave no permanent brain damage.
Some people have no warning signs before a stroke, or symptoms are so mild that they are not noticeable. Regular check-ups are important in catching problems before they become serious. Report any symptoms or risk factors to your doctor.
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