Stroke affects people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. Fortunately, most strokes are preventable. We can all take steps to avoid having a stroke, or respond quickly when someone around us is having one.
Stroke is our nation’s No. 3 killer and a leading cause of disability
- Each year, about 780,000 Americans have a stroke.
- On average, one stroke occurs every 40 seconds.
- Every 3 to 4 minutes, someone dies of stroke.
- Stroke causes about one in 16 deaths.
- Stroke takes a serious toll in the workplace*
- Stroke will cost our nation an estimated $65.5 billion in 2008 (medical costs, lost productivity).
- Some people have a higher risk of stroke.
- About 60,000 more women than men suffer a stroke each year.
- African-Americans have almost twice the risk of a first-ever stroke compared with Caucasians.
- People with high blood pressure (140/90+) have about twice the risk of stroke as people with blood pressure under 120/80.
The first few hours are crucial in stroke treatment. Get help immediately if you spot the signs of stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing from one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
What to do:
- Know your blood pressure. Have it checked annually. If it’s elevated, work with your doctor to control it.
- If you smoke, stop.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- If you have high cholesterol, work with your doctor to control it.
- If you are diabetic, follow your doctor’s recommendations to control your diabetes.
- Enjoy a low sodium (salt), low-fat diet.
- Include exercise in the activities you enjoy each day.
- Find out if you have atrial fibrillation: a type of irregular heart beat, which requires treatment.
- Your doctor may recommend drug therapy for stroke prevention.
- If you experience any stroke symptoms, call 9-1-1.