Key Stroke Facts
- Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States.
- Every year, about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes. About 185,000 people who survive a stroke go on to have another.
- Recurrent stroke is frequent; about 25 percent of people who recover from their first stroke will have another stroke within 5 years.
- Someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds.
- Every four minutes someone dies of stroke.
- About 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60 percent in females.
- There are 7 million stroke survivors living in the US today and two-thirds of them are disabled.
- Strokes can and do occur at ANY age. Nearly one quarter of strokes occur under the age of 65.
- The risk of stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.
- In one second 32,000 brain cells die, in 59 seconds an ischemic stroke will have killed 1.9 million brain cells.
- Ischemic strokes, which occur when blood clots block the blood vessels to the brain, are the most common type of stroke, representing about 87% of all strokes.
- Up to 70% of strokes seen in the hospital are ischemic, while the remaining 30% are a mixture of transient ischemic attacks and hemorrhagic strokes.
- In 2010, stroke related medical costs and disability will cost Americans an estimated $73.7 billion.
- 80% of strokes are preventable.
Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. A common disability that results from stroke is complete paralysis on one side of the body, called hemiplegia. A related disability that is not as debilitating as paralysis is one-sided weakness or hemiparesis. Stroke may cause problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, and memory. Stroke survivors often have problems understanding or forming speech. A stroke can lead to emotional problems. Stroke patients may have difficulty controlling their emotions or may express inappropriate emotions. Many stroke patients experience depression. Stroke survivors may also have numbness or strange sensations. The pain is often worse in the hands and feet and is made worse by movement and temperature changes, especially cold temperatures.
In a healthy artery, the lining of the artery wall is smooth. This lets blood flow freely from the heart. (The heart is a pump. It sends oxygen-rich blood out through blood vessels called arteries.) The brain gets all the blood it needs to function well.
High blood pressure or other problems can roughen artery walls. This allows plaque to build up in the walls. Blood clots may also form on the plague. This can narrow the artery and limit blood flow.
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