Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US and is a major cause of disability in adults. A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. Stroke can cause weakness or numbness of an arm or leg on one side of the body or may even cause weakness or numbness on one side of the face. A stroke can also affect speech and language, vision, memory, emotions, and behaviors.
- A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts.
- On average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke.
- Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States, but the risk of having a stroke varies with race and ethnicity.
- Risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high for African American adults as it is for white adults, and African American adults have the highest rate of death from stroke.
- High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes are leading causes of stroke. 1 in 3 adults has at least one of these conditions or habits.
If you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. The chance that you will survive and recover from a stroke is higher if you get emergency treatment right away.
Signs of a stroke come on suddenly, such as sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg on one side, sudden confusion, trouble talking or understanding, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of coordination, or a sudden severe headache
Choosing healthy meals and snacks can help you avoid stroke and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The US Surgeon General recommends that adults should get moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
You cannot change some risk factors for stroke, such as family history, age, gender, race, or ethnicity. However, you can reduce your risk by making healthy choices such as:
- Control blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar.
- Treat atrial fibrillation and other heart diseases.
- Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and sugary drinks.
- Be physically active to help maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid (or stop) smoking, and limit alcohol use.