Stroke deprives the brain of blood, killing brain cells and often leading to disability or death. This serious condition is all too common nationally and in Kentucky. Studies show who and how many are having strokes, and they also indicate the reasons why. You can act now to reduce your chances of suffering a stroke and avoid becoming part of these statistics.
Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 140,300 people annually. That’s one of every 20 deaths in the nation. How common is stroke?
- About 800,000 strokes occur each year in the U.S.
- About 3 in 4 are first-time strokes.
- Someone has a stroke about every 40 seconds.
- Someone dies of a stroke about every four minutes.
U.S. Stroke Death Rates 2013-2015 for adults 35+ by county showing prevalence of stroke in Kentucky; up to 207 deaths per 100,000 in many counties. Data Source: National Vital Statistics System; National Center for Health Statistics.
Kentucky tied for 12th among the states in the number of stroke deaths in 2015 with 2,050. Stroke was the fifth-leading killer in the state behind cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, and accidents.
A report prepared in 2017 for the state government analyzed stroke statistics for Kentucky for 2015. Here’s some of what it found:
- 60 percent of those who had strokes in Kentucky were older than 65.
- 34 percent were 46 to 65.
- 12 percent were older than 85, and 6 percent were 18 to 45.
- 51 percent were women.
- 88 percent were white; 10 percent black; 1 percent Latino.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cigarette smoking, obesity, and irregular heartbeat are all top risk factors for stroke. That means anyone with one or more of those conditions is more likely to have a stroke.
Of those who had strokes in Kentucky in 2015:
- 75 percent had high blood pressure.
- 36 percent had high cholesterol.
- 34 percent had diabetes.
- 23 percent were cigarette smokers.
- 17 percent were obese.
- 16 percent had atrial fibrillation or heart flutter.
Your lifestyle choices can help determine whether you will suffer from a stroke. Here are some steps you can take immediately or in the near future:
- Get a checkup. Ask your doctor whether your state of health makes you a likely stroke victim.
- Get a stroke screening. University of Kentucky HealthCare screens hundreds of people for stroke each year. Email Britan.Schenk@uky.edu or call 859-323-3092.
- The UK Stroke Program screens hundreds of individuals each year. If you are planning a community event and would like to offer a stroke risk screening, please complete the request form.
- Change your lifestyle to minimize risk factors. Lose weight (if you are overweight), quit smoking, start exercising, and modify your diet to reduce cholesterol. Your healthcare professional can help you develop a plan for all of this.