Stroke Fact Sheet
- Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 of every 20 deaths.1
- A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.
- Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, someone dies of stroke.2
- Every year, about 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes; 185,000 are recurrent strokes.2
- Stroke is an important cause of disability. Stroke reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over.2
- Stroke costs the nation $34 billion annually, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.2
- You can’t control some stroke risk factors, like heredity, age, gender, and ethnicity. Some medical conditions—including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, overweight or obesity, and previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)—can also raise your stroke risk. Avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol, eating a balanced diet, and getting exercise are all choices you can make to reduce your risk.
Common Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg—especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
CDC's Public Health Efforts
Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry
CDC funds health departments in 11 states—Arkansas, California, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin—to collect stroke data through the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry. The data collected will help hospitals and emergency medical services (EMS) improve acute stroke care, which will improve patient outcomes by reducing untimely deaths, preventing disability, and avoiding recurrent strokes.
State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State Public Health Actions is a national program that provides a base level of funding to all 50 states and DC to focus on underlying strategies that address all of these diseases.
CDC funds 21 WISEWOMAN projects in 19 states and two tribal organizations. WISEWOMAN helps women with little or no health insurance reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. The program assists women age 40 to 64 in improving their diet, physical activity, and other behaviors. WISEWOMAN also provides cholesterol tests and other screening.
Million Hearts® is a national, public-private initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Co-led by CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the initiative brings together communities, health care professionals, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners to improve care and empower Americans to make heart-healthy choices.
For More Information
For more information about stroke, visit the following Web sites.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Stroke Association
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program: http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html. Accessed on Feb 3, 2015.
- Mozzafarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. on behalf of the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2015 Update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015;131:e29-e322.
- Page last reviewed: February 19, 2015
- Page last updated: February 19, 2015
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