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41 Shocking Stroke Statistics to Be Mindful of in 2020

Stroke kills millions of people worldwide. In fact, recent stroke statistics show that together with heart disease, this condition is responsible for more deaths than infections and road accidents combined. An equally upsetting fact is that those lucky enough to survive still face a lifetime of recovery and possible severe disability.

Why is it important to have all the info on strokes? This is a medical condition where a fast response can save lives. Knowing how to react and how to care for stroke victims is impossible if you don’t have all the stats and facts first.

The Top 10 Stroke Statistics You Shouldn’t Forget 

  • 15 million people across the world have a stroke every year.
  • Stroke is the second leading cause of death across the world. 
  • Over 795,000 people in the US have a stroke every year.
  • 140,000 Americans die from a stroke every year.
  • High blood pressure is the most common cause of strokes and the easiest to modify.
  • Almost three-quarters of all strokes affect people over 65.
  • Left-sided strokes are more common than right-sided strokes.
  • Strokes cost the US a total of $43 billion annually.
  • 80% of strokes are preventable.
  • 10% of people who have had a stroke make a complete recovery. 

Stroke Statistics Worldwide

1. 15 million people across the world have a stroke every year.

(WHO, Stroke Association)

From this staggering number, over 5 million died in 2016 alone, while another 5 million were disabled for life. This high prevalence rate indicates that someone in the world has a stroke every two seconds.

2. Stroke is the second leading cause of death across the world.

(WHO, BMC)

Ischemic heart disease and stroke are the top two leading causes of death across the globe, stroke statistics worldwide from 2019 show. These two diseases have topped the list of major causes of death globally for the past 15 years. What’s more, projections are that stroke will remain one of the leading causes of death up to 2030.

3. Around 650,000 people die of a stroke in Europe annually.

(Stroke Association, ESC)

Of these, 9% of deaths in men and 12% of deaths among women are attributed to stroke. The good news for Europeans is that according to the stroke statistics worldwide from 2018, there has been a 65% decrease in stroke prevalence in most European countries, and only a slight increase in certain central Asian countries. 

4. Stroke is the single biggest cause of disability in the UK.

(Stroke Association)

It’s estimated that almost a third of stroke patients admitted into UK hospitals leave with some kind of disability. Stroke and heart disease are two of the biggest causes of disability on a global scale, stroke statistics show.

5. Over the last 40 years, there’s been a 42% reduction in stroke incidence in developed countries.

(WHO) 

This decline is mostly due to a reduction in smoking levels, improved control of high blood pressure, an emphasis on the importance of exercise, and healthier diets and lifestyles in general, which are some of the most common causes of stroke. In comparison, stroke incidence has more than doubled in less developed countries over the same time period.

US Stroke Statistics

6. Over 795,000 people in the US have a stroke every year.

(CDC) 

This translates to someone having a stroke every 40 seconds. Almost a quarter of strokes, or 185,000, are experienced by people who have previously suffered from a stroke. 610,000 strokes, on the other hand, are first or new incidents. 

7. Roughly 7.8 million US adults have had a stroke in their lifetime.

(CDC)

This means that 3.1% of the adult population in the US has had a stroke once in their lifetime, according to the CDC and stroke statistics.

8. 140,000 Americans die from a stroke every year.

(CDC)

This amounts to 1 in 20 deaths annually, putting this condition fifth on the list of leading causes of death in the US. Stroke mortality rates are so high in the US, estimates show that someone dies of a stroke every 4 minutes. 

9. Minnesota has the lowest stroke prevalence.

(NINDS) 

With a 1.9% stroke prevalence, Minnesota ranks the lowest, while Alabama has the highest prevalence rates, at 4.3%. Surprisingly, the stroke statistics from 2018 reveal that the US death rate for stroke is the highest in the Southeastern states, also known as the Stroke Belt, where stroke mortality is twice as high as the national average. 

Types of Strokes

10. Around 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.

(CDC) 

An ischemic stroke happens when the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen-rich blood become narrowed or blocked as a result of blood clots or fatty deposits. 

11. 13% of strokes are hemorrhagic strokes.

(Healthline, CDC) 

Stroke facts and statistics tell us that a hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks or ruptures. The most common causes of this type of stroke are high blood pressure and aneurysms. Other causes include trauma, overuse of blood thinners, or cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

12. A TIA is a warning sign of a stroke.

(CDC, Mayo Clinic) 

Over a third of people who experience a TIA and don’t receive treatment have a major stroke within the year, reveal stroke statistics from 2017. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or a mini-stroke, is different from other types of strokes because it only blocks the blood flow to the brain for a short time. The symptoms of a TIA are similar to that of ischemic stroke, but they don’t cause permanent damage. 

13. Silent strokes are 14 times more common than other types of strokes.

(Saebo) 

A silent stroke exhibits symptoms that are hard to detect, which makes it difficult for patients to even recognize that they’ve had a stroke. However, stroke statistics show that a third of people over 70 have experienced at least one silent stroke in their lifetime. Silent strokes only show up on scans, but they can still lead to vascular dementia and memory loss. 

Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

14. There are five warning signs of a stroke.

(WebMD)

These include sudden numbness (particularly on one side of the body), confusion, trouble speaking, vision issues, and trouble walking, as well as a severe headache without a known cause, as shown by the stroke facts from 2019.

15. Strokes most often occur in the morning or in the evening.

(BBC)

A study in Japan found that the risk for stroke was highest between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The risk for stroke was lowest when people were asleep, probably due to the body’s internal clock regulating blood circulation.

16. Only 38% of respondents in a survey knew how to recognize major stroke symptoms.

(CDC) 

The survey also showed that 93% of respondents recognized only sudden numbness as one of the major stroke symptoms

What Causes a Stroke?

17. High blood pressure is the most common cause of stroke, and it’s the easiest to modify.

(WHO, Internet Stroke Center) 

12.7 million strokes across the planet are caused by high blood pressure. Estimates indicate that four out of ten people who died from a cerebrovascular accident could have been saved if their blood pressure had been previously regulated.

18. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke by 4%–6%.

(NINDS, Healthline) 

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm that affects between 2.7 and 6.1 million Americans. AFib and stroke statistics indicate that this condition is the second most common cause of stroke. In fact, around 15% of stroke victims have atrial fibrillation before experiencing a stroke. 

19. Diabetes doubles the risk of a stroke.

(ASA)

Estimates show that every two minutes, a US adult with diabetes is admitted into the hospital for a stroke. 

20. Smoking is believed to cause two-fifths of stroke deaths for people under 65.

(WHO, NINDS) 

Smokers are doubly at risk for acute ischemic stroke. On top of that, smoking and stroke statistics reveal that 3.5% of smokers are more likely to suffer from a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). 

21. One stroke puts patients at high risk for others.

(WebMD)

First stroke victims are seven times more likely to have a second stroke within the year, with risks remaining high for up to five years after the initial incidence.

Stroke Risk Factors

22. Almost three-quarters of all strokes affect people over 65.

(Internet Stroke Center, WHO)

Around a quarter of strokes, stroke age statistics prove, occur in people between 40 and 65 years of age. Risks of stroke increase as a person ages. Indeed, the highest stroke rates are noted among the oldest age groups, and the risk of a cerebrovascular accident more than doubles after the age of 55.

23. Pediatric stroke affects one out of 4,000 newborns and one out of 2,000 children every year.

(NCBI, Johns Hopkins)

Children can have strokes too. Unfortunately, around 10%–25% of children who experience a stroke die. According to pediatric stroke statistics, a quarter of them will have another stroke, while 66% have long-lasting impairments in learning and development, as well as other neurological issues, such as seizures. 

24. Around 20% of US women will have a stroke at some point in their lives.

(CDC) 

Stroke is not only fourth among the leading causes of death in the US for women—it also kills twice as many females as cancer. High blood pressure, obesity issues, and diabetes are more prevalent among African American women, thus the risk of stroke is almost twice as high in the demographic, statistics about stroke indicate. 

25. Women are more at risk of stroke during pregnancy.

(ASA, NINDS) 

The risk of stroke occurring during pregnancy is 21 per 100,000 women, particularly during the third trimester. Sadly, a quarter of strokes among pregnant women end in death. SAH is one of the most common types affecting pregnant women and causes between one and five maternal deaths per 10,000 pregnancies.

26. More women die of stroke than men, stroke statistics by gender show. 

(AHA) 

The number of stroke deaths among women accounted for 82,787 deaths or 58.2% of total stroke deaths. On the other hand, 59,355 men, or almost 41.8% of all stroke deaths, died of a stroke in 2016. 

27. Black Americans are more at risk of stroke than other racial demographics in the US.

(CDC, AHA Journals) 

In fact, they’re twice as likely to have a first stroke than white Americans. Stroke stats also indicate that their stroke mortality rate is higher than that of other races. Not only that, but they are also less likely than other races to be able to perform daily activities independently within a year after suffering a stroke. 

28. Mortality rates from stroke have been increasing for Hispanics since 2013.

(CDC, AHA) 

While acute stroke incidence has declined for other races and ethnic groups, it has increased for Hispanic males and females. Hispanics are also more at risk of having a second stroke—stroke morbidity and mortality statistics reveal—than African Americans and non-Hispanic whites. 

29. 70% of strokes affect people living in low- and middle-income countries. 

(WHO) 

Low- and middle-income countries also have the highest prevalence of stroke incidence and stroke-related deaths. It’s estimated that 87% of stroke-related deaths or the related life years lost due to disability occur in these less developed countries. Even more disturbing is the fact that strokes affect people 15 years sooner in low- and middle-income countries, stroke statistics from 2016 reveal. 

Stroke Effects and Health Costs

30. Left-sided strokes are more common than right-sided.

(AHA Journals, AHA)

The effects of a stroke vary according to which side of the brain is damaged. The left side leads to paralysis of the right side of the body, speech issues, and memory loss. A right brain stroke leads to paralysis of the left side of the body, visual issues, and loss of memory.

31. Around 25%–40% of stroke survivors have aphasia, stroke stats show.

(WebMD)

Aphasia is a speech disorder resulting from damage to the brain and is most commonly caused by a stroke or injury. It’s also one of the most common post-stroke symptoms, especially among older adults. 

32. Strokes cost the US a total of $43 billion annually.

(NINDS)

From this amount, $28 billion a year is spent on direct costs for health care and therapy, while $15 million are indirect costs, such as lost productivity or workdays lost, the US stroke statistics tell us.

33. A stroke patient spends an average of $15,000 in the 3 months following a cerebral vascular accident.

(NINDS) 

A large share of the direct costs within 90 days after a stroke are spent on hospitalization (43%), while 16% of the expenses are allocated to rehabilitation and another 14% to physicians. Hospital readmission makes up 14% of costs, and medication and remaining expenditures account for 13% of all expenses. 

How to Prevent a Stroke and Stroke Treatment

34. 80% of strokes are preventable.

(ASA, Internet Stroke Center) 

Stroke prevention starts with knowing and addressing the stroke risk factors. These include smoking, unhealthy nutrition, heart disease, and diabetes. Some risk factors are beyond human control, such as race and socioeconomic circumstances.

35. A fast reaction is crucial when it comes to stroke. 

(ASA) 

If a stroke victim is provided with medical care within the first 3 hours after the initial stroke symptoms appear, or 4.5 hours in certain cases, that patient can receive a medication known as alteplase (tPA)—according to the stroke statistics worldwide. This medication dissolves clots and can save the life of the patient as well as reduce some of the disabling stroke effects, the American Stroke Association reports. 

36. Antihypertensive medication can reduce stroke risks.

(NINDS) 

Adrenergic agents, beta and calcium channel blockers, and diuretics can reduce stroke incidence rates by 38% and decrease stroke death rates by almost 40%.

37. Sticking to a Mediterranian diet reduces the risk of stroke.

(AHA Journals) 

According to heart disease and stroke statistics—from the 2017 update—a diet rich in nuts and olive oil, and just sticking to organic foods, was found to lower the risk of a stroke. 

38. Post-stroke rehabilitation can start as soon as the patient is stable. 

(Saebo)

Depending on the patient’s condition, rehabilitation should start as soon as possible at a nursing facility, in a rehabilitation center, or via in-home visits. Some of the health care professionals who work with stroke patients include physicians, speech-language pathologists, and physical, occupational, and recreational therapists.

39. It takes 6 months to a year for a stroke patient to recover.

(Saebo) 

How long does it take to recover from a stroke? Recovery time, if possible, varies from one stroke patient to the next. Stroke victims typically don’t see any major improvements until after the first three months. The overall stroke prognosis shows that it can take up to two years for patients suffering from a speech impairment to recover and regain their ability to speak. 

40. Up to 85% of stroke victims regain independent mobility after 6 months of rehab.

(Flint Rehab) 

While this is true for survivors of acute strokes, stroke recovery statistics indicate that it takes longer for the victims of a massive stroke to recover. A massive stroke refers to strokes that result in death, long-term paralysis, or a coma. 

41. Only 10% of people who have had a stroke make a complete recovery. 

(Healthline) 

25% of stroke victims recover with minor impairments, while 40% have moderate to severe disabilities and are in need of special care by professionals or family members. Lastly, 10% experience severe impairments and require long-term care in facilities, the stroke statistics from 2019 show. Recovery depends on the type, stage, and severity of the stroke the patient has experienced.


FAQ

What is a thrombotic stroke?

A thrombotic stroke is a type of ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot (thrombus) blocking blood vessels in the body. It’s typically the result of high cholesterol, atherosclerosis (which happens when fat builds up in the walls of blood vessels), and diabetes.

Can chiropractors cause strokes?

According to the AHA and other chiropractic stroke statistics, neck manipulation has been linked to a type of arterial tear that can cause a stroke. Patients who saw a chiropractor were 10% more likely to have a stroke than patients who visited a regular doctor.

How is a stroke diagnosed? 

There are two types of tests used to diagnose a stroke: imaging tests, such as CT scans and MRIs, or blood flow tests, like cerebral angiography. Diagnosing strokes is important as most people who’ve survived one are at risk of having another, recurring stroke. 

What is the difference between a stroke and a heart attack?

Both are normally caused by a blood clot. However, in a heart attack, the blood flow to the heart is blocked, while in the case of a stroke, there is reduced or no blood flow to the brain due to a blood vessel becoming clogged or bursting. 

What is a basal ganglia stroke?

Basal ganglia are a collection of cell bodies that control movement, muscle control, some cognitive processes, and even personality. A basal ganglia stroke can cause serious damage that may require surgery and rehabilitation therapy. 

Can stress cause a stroke?

A study of 7,000 participants showed that subjects with the highest stress levels were 59% more likely to have a stroke or a TIA. Participants in the same study who had high hostility levels had double the risk of experiencing a stroke. Another study indicated that people in high-demand and low-control jobs, like nurses or restaurant servers, were 22% more at risk of a stroke than those in other professions. 

So yes, global stroke statistics show that stress can lead to stroke and heart attack, so it’s best to avoid tension and stressful situations. At least, this is one of the factors that can be controlled.

Bottom Line

Although the number of stroke incidents has declined, there are still millions all over the world who die from them or remain seriously disabled. What’s more tragic is that most of these incidents could have been prevented by reacting in time or making slight adjustments in one’s lifestyle. Knowledge of these stroke statistics and facts should help you avoid the potential risks and protect yourself and your family from this condition. 

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