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How Much Do You Know about Strokes?

Each year, more than 795,000 strokes occur in the U.S. and strokes cause more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. Your risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after age 55, but stroke can happen at any age. That's why it's important to know the risk factors and what you should do if you suspect someone is having a stroke.

Answer true or false to the following questions to learn important facts about stroke.

A stroke occurs due to low blood flow to an area of the brain.

When there is reduced blood flow to the brain, there is also a loss of oxygen since blood is what carries oxygen to the brain. And when your brain doesn't get enough oxygen, brain cells start to die. Your brain can be starved of oxygen due to a blood clot or blockage in a blood vessel (an ischemic stroke) or leakage in a blood vessel or a burst vessel (a hemorrhagic stroke). Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the biggest stroke risk factor.

The #1 risk factor for stroke is uncontrolled high blood pressure. Other stroke risk factors include smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, age and having other cardiovascular issues, such as an arrhythmia.

If you're under age 65, you don't really have to worry about stroke.

While the majority of strokes occur in people over age 65, stroke can happen at age. The number of people hospitalized for stroke between the ages of 15 and 44 has risen significantly in recent years, even as rates of hospitalization for stroke have decreased among older adults. This is due in part to significant increases in stroke risk factors among this population, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and tobacco use.

Stroke mostly affects men, not women.

Women have more strokes than men and also tend to live longer than men, putting them at an increased risk for factors that can make a stroke more deadly. In fact, stroke is the third leading cause of death in women and the fifth leading cause of death in men.


Once a stroke happens, there's really nothing you can do about it.

Time is of the essence when a stroke occurs. If a clot-busting medication (tPA) is given within the first 3 to 4 1/2 hours following a stroke, recovery outcomes may be greatly improved. But there is only a short window of time within which this treatment can be administered.

There are obvious signs that may indicate someone is having a stroke.

Think of the acronym FAST to remember the most common stroke symptoms – If you notice Face drooping, Arm weakness/numbness or Speech difficulty, it's Time to call 911 right away. Symptoms often are noticeable on only one side of the body. Other symptoms include sudden confusion, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes, or a sudden severe headache with no known cause.

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Date Last Reviewed: April 1, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD
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