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30 Key Stroke Statistics & Facts You Need to Keep in Mind

by Aleksandar Hrubenja

A stroke is a harrowing, life-changing experience. It’s vital to be informed as much as possible about its causes, signs and symptoms, and ways to prevent it because treatment for a stroke which was caught early can minimize or even prevent brain damage from occurring. So, consider the following stroke statistics and facts, some sobering, some hopeful.

Strokes occur when a part of the brain gets its blood flow cut off which then leads to brain cells in the affected area to die off, due to the lack of oxygen and nutrients. This is known as an ischemic stroke and it is by far the most common type of stroke. A very different kind, a hemorrhagic stroke, can occur due to bleeding inside the brain.

Here’s everything you need to know about the prevalence and the aftermath of strokes today.

The Most Important Stroke Statistics and Facts to Be Aware of in 2019:

  • Every year, 795,000 people have a stroke in the US.
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Ischemic strokes represent 87% of all strokes instances.
  • Accumulated costs related to stroke and stroke death amount to $34 billion every year in the United States.
  • There are between 200,000 and 500,000 incidences of mini-strokes (TIAs) in the US on an annual basis.
  • A mini-stroke is followed by a complete stroke within three months of its occurrence in 14.6% of cases.
  • Smoking is responsible for 15% of all stroke incidences on a global level.
  • The mortality rate for ischemic strokes is higher in men by more than 13% then in women.
  • 90% of strokes worldwide are caused by preventable or manageable factors (like smoking or lack of exercise).
  • 70% of global stroke incidences occur in low and middle-income countries.

US Stroke Statistics

Stroke Statistics - US

1. The decline of stroke death rates has stopped in some areas of the US.

(Centers for Disease and Prevention)

In 2017, a paper was posted online, within the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report stated that while there has been a steady four-decade decline in stroke death rates, this trend has begun to reverse, or at best stall with some subpopulations. These signs of a stroke decline stall are relevant for thirty-eight states, in the period between 2000 and 2015.

2. In the United States, there are somewhere between 200,000 and 500,000 incidences of “mini-strokes” every year.

(Journals of the American Heart Association)

Mini strokes, medically known as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), are caused by a sudden, but brief, blockage of blood supply leading to the brain. While the name mini-stroke might make it seem benign these can still be highly disturbing and can be a sign of a real stroke to come.

They are not what causes a stroke but are rather a sign that you should be prepared to deal with one in the near future. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of TIAs that occur in the US, but a conservative number claimed by a paper dealing with them amounts to 240,000  transient ischemic attack incidences per year.

3. The average age of stroke for women in the US is 72 years, while for men it’s 68.8.

(Medscape)

A study conducted in 2010 found that the average age of female stroke patients in the United States of America is 72 years, while for men, the number is somewhat lower, amounting to 68.8 years. Both the stroke survival rate and the average age of death arising from stroke and stroke complications depend on a myriad of factors, so it’s difficult to explain this disparity between the genders.

4. Every year, 795,000 people have a stroke in the US.

(Centers for Disease Prevention and Control)

Every year there are almost 800,000 people in America who suffer from a stroke. Of this number, 610,000 suffer the effects of a stroke for the very first time. The CDC referred to a report hailing from the American Heart Association, from 2017.

5. Women are more likely to be stroke patients in the USA, by a 5% margin.

(Medscape)

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States of America. However, women seem to take a slight lead in this grim race, as stroke stats point towards them making up 55% of all stroke patients.

6. In the United States, the stroke hospitalization rate from 1999 to 2009 decreased by 20% for older individuals.

(National Center for Health Statistics)

Between the years 1999 and 2009, there was a decrease of 20% of the stroke hospitalization rates for individuals between the ages of 65 and 74. Furthermore, looking up stroke statistics by age will show that it has also decreased by 24% for individuals aged 75 to 84.

7. The Hispanic population in the United States suffered a 5.8% stroke rate increase between 2013 and 2015.

(Centers for Disease and Prevention)

While the Center for Disease and Prevention claims that for the last four decades stroke rates have declined, according to the stroke facts and statistics they gathered, stroke rates are increasing for Hispanic populations by 5.8%. The same paper claims that an excess of 30,000 stroke deaths occurred between 2013 and 2015.

8. The accumulated stroke expenses cost the United States around $34 billion every year.

(Centers for Disease Prevention and Control)

The accumulated statistics about stroke victims show that every year the United States of America loses around thirty-four billion dollars to expenses surrounding stroke. This includes expenses related to healthcare services, medicine, and missed days of work. These expenses accumulate severely, and they are a serious drain on the national budget.

9. Stroke is one of the leading causes of long-term disability in the United States.

(Centers for Disease Prevention and Control)

One of the leading issues that lead to long term disability is a stroke. Namely, stroke disability statistics show that stroke can reduce mobility in more than 50% of stroke survivors who are older than 65. While organizations, like the American Stroke Association, try to assist people to get as much control over their lives as they can, their capabilities are limited.

10. Nearly 9 in 10 of all stroke deaths reported in the United States are due to ischemic strokes.

(Centers for Diseases and Prevention)

As far as the stats between ischemic stroke vs hemorrhagic stroke are concerned, ischemic strokes are much more prevalent. A paper coming from the American Heart Association claims that 87% of all strokes occurring in the United States of America are ischemic strokes – those caused by a blockage in blood flow going into the brain. These both include thrombotic and embolic strokes.

11. In the US, stroke is the third leading cause of death today.

(American Academy of insurance Medicine)

A paper published in the Journal of Insurance Medicine regarding stroke morbidity and mortality statistics claims that stroke is the leading cause of death after heart attacks and cancer. The same paper deals with the enormous cost that stroke causes in the US. The paper states that as far as the issue of how to prevent a stroke is concerned, the core risk factor modification activities boil down to cessation of smoking and general lifestyle changes.

Global Stroke Facts and Stats

Stroke Statistics - Global

12. Stroke kills more people than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

(World Stroke Campaign)

Namely, stroke effects contribute to a death toll of almost six million people, while TB, AIDS, and malaria have in 2008 taken around five million lives. These are claims made by the World Health Organization and the Stop TB program.

13. One in six people will, on a global level, suffer from a stroke in their lifetime.

(World Stroke Organization)

The World Stroke organization reports that, according to global stroke statistics, one in six people will suffer from a stroke in one form or another. This data includes every type – a silent stroke, a TIA, and full-blown ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.

14. Globally, 5.8 million people die from stroke and stroke-induced complications.

(World Stroke Organization)

Stroke survival rate statistics are grim. On a global level, 5.8 million people die from stroke and stroke complications. It is the fifth leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 59, and the second leading cause for individuals older than 60 years of age.

15. Cerebrovascular accidents (i.e. strokes) are the second-highest cause of death in the world.

(World Health Organization)

According to the Global Health Estimates used by the World Health Organization, worldwide stroke statistics imply that it is the second leading cause of death in the world. The same paper claims that it is the third highest cause of disability.

16. On a global level, 70% of stroke instances occur in low and middle-income countries

(World Health Organization)

World health organization stroke statistics point towards a large disparity between first and third world countries when it comes to stroke incidences. Namely, 70% of the global stroke occurrences happen in low and middle-income countries. Stroke prevention efforts have paid off in high-income countries, with a 42% decline in stroke incidence in the last four decades.

Furthermore, of all the deaths that are caused by a stroke, as well as instances of disability-adjusted life years tied to stroke, 87% can be found in poorer areas of the world.

Stroke Prevention and Causes

Stroke Statistics - Prevention

17. Exercise can reduce your risk of stroke by 25% to 30%.

(Journals of the American Health Association)

Regular physical activity can seriously reduce your risk of stroke, as well as improving your brain hemorrhage survival rate. The study compared individuals who are physically inactive with people who practice 2 hours of daily vigorous physical activity. The specific article recommends 40 minutes of exercise per day as adequate.

18. Individuals suffering from diabetes have an increased risk of stroke.

(Journals of the American Health Association)

A study published in 2017 claims that individuals suffering from diabetes have an increased chance of having a stroke. In fact, around 20% of diabetics die from a stroke. Another factor that needs to be considered here is the duration of diabetes mellitus. Namely, the longer an individual has diabetes, the greater his or her risk of suffering from a stroke.

The relevant stroke age statistics point towards higher rates of stroke for older individuals in any case. Just one more reason why thorough diabetes management is important.

19. Individuals who suffer from high-stress intensity have twice the chance of suffering from a fatal stroke.

(Journals of the American Health Association)

The question of can stress cause a stroke is on most people’s minds. The notion of stress causing a stroke, however, is not a myth. A study had 5604 men and 6970 women tested for their stress levels, and within this number 929 first-ever stroke instances occurred.

Subjects that have reported feeling great levels of stress intensity had twice the risk of stroke compared to those who felt very little stress. However, whether stress itself leads to the occurrence of strokes, or whether lifestyle factors are in play, has not been determined.

20. Preventable risk factors account for 90% of all strokes, worldwide.

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)

A huge study ranging from 2007 to 2015, done across 32 countries, including 26,919 participants, concluded that strokes are preventable. Namely, it is difficult to determine how long does it take to recover from a stroke. Lifestyle factors influence recovery to a significant degree, and they are as vital as a proper stroke diagnosis is at the start of treatment. However, these same lifestyle factors influence stroke risk.

The aforementioned study concluded that factors like alcohol consumption, diabetes mellitus, diet, smoking, and several other factors that are to a lesser or lower degree in our control, contribute to the occurrence of strokes.

21. Smoking contributes to 15% of all strokes, on an annual basis.

(Journals of the American Health Association)

It is estimated that around 15% of stroke deaths per year are caused by cigarette smoking. Your stroke prognosis can be improved, however, by simply quitting. Any excess risk caused by smoking disappears after 2 to 4 from cessation.

22. Heart disease is a risk factor for stroke, and stroke is a factor for heart disease.

(American Stroke Association)

There are reports that heart disease is a factor that indicates a possible occurrence of stroke incidences. Furthermore, heart disease and stroke statistics imply that stroke is also a risk factor for coronary heart disease. They both share some common causes, like hardening of the arteries due to atherosclerosis, as well as being caused by similar negative lifestyle habits, like smoking. Essentially, a lack of exercise can lead to a heart attack as well as a stroke.

General Stroke Information and Statistics

Stroke Statistics - General Information

23. There are more than two types of stroke.

(John Hopkins Medicine)

There are several types of stroke, and they are categorized by what causes strokes in the first place. Ischemic strokes can be subdivided into thrombotic and embolic strokes. The latter is caused by debris or a blood clot traveling from one part of the body, right up to the brain through a blood vessel. The former occurs when a blood clot develops in the brain itself.

Hemorrhagic stroke occurs because a blood vessel burst and bled into the brain. An intracerebral hemorrhage means the blood is coming from a blood vessel inside the brain. Subarachnoid hemorrhage means that the bleeding is happening in the space between the brain and the membranes of the brain (i.e. the subarachnoid space).

24. Ischemic strokes make up 87% of all stroke instances, while hemorrhagic stroke amounts to 13%.

(John Hopkins Medicine)

An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage of an artery or vein, in rarer instances. A hemorrhagic stroke, on the other hand, is caused by bleeding. Of the two types of strokes, the former makes up 87% of total stroke instances, while the latter amounts to 13%.

25. The mortality rate for ischemic stroke is higher in men (33.7%) than in women (19.8%).

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)

A report studying 959 stroke victims found a difference in mortality in terms of gender. The study investigated the survival status of stroke victims, aged 15 to 50 that have been admitted to the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre.

As far as stroke statistics by gender are concerned, 33.7% of male ischemic stroke victims did not survive the researcher’s follow-up. The number for women is lower, being 19.8%.

26. People with higher education levels are more likely to be aware of early stroke symptoms.

(Centers for Disease and Prevention)

The signs and symptoms of stroke can be frightening. However, proper education is vital in order to act on time. Understanding what are the signs of a stroke before it happens can save a life. A paper notes that people with higher education are much more likely to be aware of the symptoms of a stroke, to recognize post-stroke symptoms, and call emergency services on time.

27. Death risk after stroke is 28%, 41%, and 60% at 28 days, 1 year, and 5 years, respectively.

(Journals of the American Heart Association)

While it is difficult to calculate the average life expectancy after stroke incidents, the data that has been done is sobering. A Danish study dealing with multiple subjects aged 25 years and older, living in Copenhagen County, accrued sobering data.

They estimated that at 28 days, 1 year, and 5 years, the risk of death is respectively at 28%, 41%, and 60%. Of course, this is made worse by any additional disease and issues a person may have unrelated to the stroke, as well as whether they suffered a massive stroke or one that is relatively light.

28. Strokes are accompanied by more than one complication in 62% of cases.

(Department of Clinical Neurosciences)

One paper analyzed the effects of a stroke, focusing on complications. Things like falls, skin breaks, infections, depression, all are part of what can be constituted as complications of a stroke. In more than half the cases, it has been noted that more than one complication follows. Some may not seem so serious, but falls in the elderly can have serious consequences – a broken hip is no joke.

29. Transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes) are followed by a real stroke in 14.6% of cases.

(Journals of the American Health Association)

People who suffer from a transient ischemic attack, instead of a full stroke, are not out of the woods yet. Unfortunately, there are reports that people who suffered from a mini-stroke can expect a full-blown stroke to occur within three months of the original TIA incidents. For this reason, it is necessary to minimize all of the many stroke risk factors you might be suffering from as soon as possible before you suffer from a real stroke.

30. One in four strokes is recurrent.

(Centers for Disease Control and prevention)

Stroke recovery statistics show that through a mix of physical and occupational therapy stroke symptoms can be strongly regulated. However, since one in four strokes are recurrent, the best stroke treatment is treating the underlying cause.

Conclusion

A stroke is a very frightening and sobering event. We should always be on the lookout for any warning signs of a stroke, any symptoms and issues. However, stroke statistics and data show that it is highly preventable. The enormous sum it costs in terms of lives and money can be mitigated through proper prevention programs, and through lifestyle changes.

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