Stroke Facts | UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's

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Stroke Facts

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, yet 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by reducing personal risk factors. Learn more about your risk for stroke by, first, getting the facts, and, then, learning the stroke risk factors and symptoms, as well as how to act F.A.S.T. to receive life-saving emergency care.

Did You Know?

  • Stroke accounts for 1 out of every 20 deaths (140,000 people) each year in the United States.
  • On average, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds in the United States, and someone dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
  • Approximately 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.
  • Of all strokes, 87 percent are ischemic (strokes caused by blockage of an artery) and 13 percent are ICH strokes (strokes caused by bleeding).
  • There are an estimated 7,000,000 strokes  survivors in the U.S. over age 20.

Stroke Risk Factors

Nearly half of Americans have at least one of the three major risk factors for stroke (high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking).  If you identify with any of these stroke risk factors, talk to your doctor about stroke prevention and screening:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Personal or family history of stroke
  • Diabetes 
  • Smoking
  • Obesity & physical inactivity 

Find tips for reducing your stroke risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle here.

Stroke Symptoms 

Only 38 percent of people are aware of all major stroke symptoms and know when to call 9-1-1. Being able to identify stroke early has the power to save lives. The most common stroke symptoms include SUDDEN:

  • Numbness, tingling or loss of movement in face, arm and/or leg (particularly on one side of the body)
  • Vision problems
  • Speech problems
  • Confusion or trouble comprehending 
  • Walking and balance difficulties
  • Severe headache without known cause or explanation 

Act F.A.S.T.

Every minute counts! Two million brain cells die every minute during stroke, raising a person's risk for permanent brain damage, disability and death. Because of this, the American Stroke Association recommends acting F.A.S.T in the event of stroke.

  • Face = Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms = Ask the person to raise arms together. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech = Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is speech slurred or hard to understand?
  • Time = If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Don't forget to record the time of first stroke symptoms. 

When it comes to stroke, time is critical. Knowing your facts, and getting to a hospital and receiving treatment immediately saves lives and reduces disabilities post-stroke. If you or someone around you is experiencing stroke, please call 9-1-1 right away and ask to be taken to UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Emergency Department for around-the-clock care you can count on.

St. Luke's has earned Gold Plus Certification for Stroke Care and adheres to all performance measures set by the American Heart Association.