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Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States

May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke kills nearly 150,000 of the 860,000 Americans who die of cardiovascular disease each year—that’s 1 in every 19 deaths from all causes.

  • The lifetime risk of stroke for women between the ages of 55 and 75 in the United States is 1 in 5.1 Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer does, making stroke the third leading cause of death for women.2

  • 4 in 5 strokes are preventable.3 That’s why it’s important to know your risk for stroke and take action to reduce the risk.

  • Stroke is a leading cause of death in men, killing almost the same number of men each year as prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease combined.

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, happens in one of two ways: an Ischemic stroke—when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or Hemorrhagic stroke—when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.

A stroke causes brain tissue to die, which can lead to brain damage, disability, and death. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious long-term disability. This is disturbing because about 80% of strokes are preventable. You can greatly reduce your risk for stroke by making lifestyle changes to help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and, in some cases, by taking medication.

Are you at risk? Anyone, including children, can have a stroke at any time. Every year, about 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke—and about 1 out of 4 of those strokes are recurrent strokes. Having one stroke means you have a greater risk of having another (or recurrent) stroke. Several factors that are beyond your control can increase your risk for stroke. These include your age, sex, and ethnicity. But there are many unhealthy habits, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough exercise, that you can change to lower your stroke risk. Using tobacco products and having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or obesity can also increase your risk for stroke. However, treating these conditions can reduce your risk. Ask your doctor about preventing or treating these medical conditions.

This information is courtesy of the CDC as part of their Stroke Awarness Month Campaign .

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