Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States.1 People of all ages and backgrounds can have a stroke.
America's Stroke Burden
- Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 in every 19 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. One in four are recurrent strokes.2
- Ischemic strokes happen when blood clots block the blood vessels to the brain. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic.2
- Stroke costs the United States an estimated $38.6 billion each year.3 This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, 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 a leading cause of death for all Americans, but the risk of having a stroke varies with race and ethnicity. African Americans’ risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice that of whites. Hispanic Americans' risk falls between that of whites and African Americans.2 American Indians/Alaska Natives and African Americans are more likely to have had a stroke than are other groups.4 Moreover, African Americans are more likely to die following a stroke than are whites.2
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 under the age of 65.5
Deaths Vary by Geography
The country's highest death rates due to stroke are in the southeastern United States.2
Early Action is Key
- 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.6
- Patients who arrive at the emergency room within three hours of their first symptoms tend to be healthier three months after a stroke than those whose care was delayed.7
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.
Americans at Risk
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for stroke. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors.8
Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for stroke, including:
- Overweight and obesity
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
- Atrial Fibrillation
- High Blood Pressure
- Know the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
- American Indian and Alaska Native Heart Disease and Stroke
- Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2009 [PDF-2M]. National Vital Statistics Reports. 2011;60(3).
- Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2012 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012;125(1):e2–220.
- Heidenreich PA, Trogdon JG, Khavjou OA, Butler J, Dracup K, Ezekowitz MD, et al. Forecasting the future of cardiovascular disease in the United States: a policy statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123:933-44. Epub 2011 Jan 24.
- CDC. Prevalence of Stroke—United States, 2006–2010. MMWR. 2012;61(20):379–82.
- Hall MJ, Levant S, DeFrances CJ. Hospitalization for stroke in U.S. hospitals, 1989–2009 [PDF-631K]. NCHS data brief, no 95. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.
- Fang J, Keenan NL, Ayala C, Dai S, Merritt R, Denny CH. Awareness of Stroke Warning Symptoms—13 States and the District of Columbia, 2005. MMWR. 2008;57:481–485.
- The ATLANTIS, ECASS, and NINDS rt-PA Study Group Investigators. Association of outcome with early stroke treatment: pooled analysis of ATLANTIS, ECASS, and NINDS rt-PA stroke trials. Lancet. 2004;363:768–74.
- CDC. Million Hearts: strategies to reduce the prevalence of leading cardiovascular disease risk factors. United States, 2011. MMWR 2011;60(36):1248–51.