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Stroke Fact Sheet

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Stroke Death Rates, 2008-2010. Age adjusted average annual deaths per 100,000 among adults ages 35 and older, by county. Rates range from 32.9 to 283.1 per 100,000. Counties with the highest rates are located primarily in the Southeast U.S., including Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and northern Texas.

Stroke Facts

  • 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 Related to Stroke

For More Information

For more information about stroke, visit the following Web sites.


  1. 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: Accessed on Feb 3, 2015.
  2. 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.