In the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability; only heart disease and cancer cause more deaths annually. Every year about 750,000 Americans experience a stroke; about 160,000 of these people die.
The good news is that many fewer Americans now die of strokes than was the case 20 or 30 years ago. Improvement in the control of major risk factors - smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol - is likely responsible for the decline.
Facts about stroke
- A stroke occurs when something happens to interrupt the steady flow of blood to the brain, like a clot or a burst in a blood vessel. Brain cells quickly begin to die.
- Problems caused by a stroke may vary depending on the extent of the brain damage and where in the brain the stroke occurred. A stroke can affect personality, behavior, movement, sensation, hearing, language, vision, and thinking.
- You Can Beat a Stroke: Disabilities can be prevented or limited, but the patient must go to the emergency room immediately.