After decades of decline, progress has slowed in preventing stroke deaths. Not only has progress in preventing deaths slowed, but there has also been an increase in stroke death rates among Hispanics and among people living in the South, while blacks continue to be the hardest hit by stroke.
This Vital Signs examines trends in stroke deaths in the U.S. from 2000-2015 by age, sex, race/ethnicity and geographic area. Although this report does not specifically address the reasons behind the slowdown in progress, other studies point to increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes, as contributors.
Key findings in the Vital Signs report include:
- After decades of steady decline, the progress in preventing stroke deaths has slowed.
- Stroke death rates increased among Hispanics by 6 percent each year from 2013 to 2015; and blacks continue to be the hardest hit by stroke deaths.
- About 3 out of every 4 states showed a slowing down in the rate of decline from 2000 through 2015.
Almost 800,000 people have a stroke each year, approximately 140,000 die and many survivors face disability. This is disturbing because about 80% are preventable. High blood pressure is the most important treatable risk factor for stroke. Preventing, diagnosing, and controlling it through lifestyle changes and medicine is critical to reducing strokes. Health systems (hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare professionals) can help address stroke risk factors and improve patient outcomes if a stroke occurs.
Stroke is an emergency. When stroke happens, minutes count. Call 9-1-1 right away. Stroke patients have better outcomes if they get to the hospital in time. Reducing stroke risk factors and improving stroke systems of care are needed to continue the decline in stroke deaths.