StrokeA stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke). Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke). Because stroke occurs rapidly and requires immediate treatment, stroke is also called a brain attack. When the symptoms of a stroke last only a short time (less than an hour), this is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke.
The effects of a stroke depend on which part of the brain is injured, and how severely it is injured. Strokes may cause sudden weakness, loss of sensation, or difficulty with speaking, seeing, or walking. Since different parts of the brain control different areas and functions, it is usually the area immediately surrounding the stroke that is affected. Sometimes people with stroke have a headache, but stroke can also be completely painless. It is very important to recognize the warning signs of stroke and to get immediate medical attention if they occur.
- Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 140,000 people die each year from stroke in the United States.
- Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.
- Each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks.
- Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65. The risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.
- Strokes can and do occur at ANY age. Nearly one fourth of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.
- Stroke death rates are higher for African-Americans than for whites, even at younger ages.
- On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.
- Stroke accounted for about one of every 17 deaths in the United States in 2006. Stroke mortality for 2005 was 137,000.
- From 1995 – 2005, the stroke death rate fell ~30 percent and the actual number of stroke deaths declined ~14 percent.
- The risk of ischemic stroke in current smokers is about double that of nonsmokers after adjustment for other risk factors.
- Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an independent risk factor for stroke, increasing risk about five-fold.
- High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke.
Source of information: www.strokecenter.org