THURSDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Americans need to take
action to reduce their risk of stroke, U.S. health officials said
Someone in the world dies of a stroke every six seconds and
about 137,000 Americans die of stroke every year. That number is
about equivalent to the population of Eugene, Ore. or Savannah,
Ga., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
The agency's message about stroke prevention comes ahead of
World Stroke Day on Oct. 29.
A new U.S. government program, called Million Hearts, seeks to
prevent 1 million strokes and heart attacks over the next five
years. The program encourages people to learn and follow their
ABCs: aspirin for people at risk; blood pressure control;
cholesterol management; and smoking cessation.
"Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds and while that is a statistic to some, it's a life abruptly changed for the person who suffered the stroke and the person's family," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a news release from the agency. "We can do so much more to prevent strokes and the new Million Hearts initiative offers opportunities for individuals, providers, communities and businesses to apply tools we have readily available today to reduce strokes and heart attacks."
A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain
or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Lifestyle changes and,
in some cases, medications can greatly reduce the risk of
However, less than half of Americans who should be taking a
low-dose aspirin a day to reduce their risk of stroke and heart
attack are taking one, according to the CDC. Less than half of the
68 million American adults with high blood pressure have it under
control, only one in three Americans with high cholesterol receive
effective treatment, and less than a quarter of smokers get help to
quit when they see their doctor.
Certain groups of people face a higher risk of stroke. Blacks
are nearly twice as likely as whites to have a first stroke, and
Hispanics also have a higher risk than whites. Blacks and Hispanics
are more likely than whites to die after a stroke.
According to the CDC, there are more than 2 million strokes and
heart attacks in the United States each year. Treatment for these
and other vascular diseases account for about $1 of every $6 spent
on health care.
There's more on the warning signs of stroke at the
National Stroke Association.