How many people have strokes each year?

Updated July 19, 2017

Strokes can happen in an instant and have a devastating effect on the victim. A stroke can result in partial or permanent paralysis and have long-term effects on a person. However, new medical treatments are available to help reduce the impact of a stroke, provided a victim gets medical attention within three hours of the first onset of symptoms. A 2005 American Heart Association study found that among all adults 20 and older, 6.5 million had a history of stroke. An estimated 2.6 million were men, with 3.9 million women.

The Facts

The American Heart Association reports that an estimated 795,000 people will suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year, with roughly 600,000 of them being first-time attacks. The AHA also estimates that in the United States one person has a stroke every 40 seconds. The AHA reports that one in 17 deaths in the United States is due to stroke. According to the internet Stroke Center, strokes are the third leading cause of death in the country. More than 143,500 people die every year from strokes.


A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is blocked. There are two types of strokes, and both have the same results. In an ischemic stroke, the more prevalent type, the blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot. In the other, called a hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel bursts and leaks into the brain. According to the AHA, 87 per cent of all strokes are ischemic, while 13 per cent are hemorrhagic. An estimated 10 per cent of the hemorrahgic strokes are intracerebral or in the brain, while 3 per cent are subarachnoid haemorrhages, between the brain and thin tissues covering the brain.


Cutting off blood flow to a part of the brain can manifest itself in several obvious symptoms. Those effects can be trouble walking or trouble with speaking, according to the Mayo Clinic. Slurred speech is common. Victims of stroke may have paralysis on one side of the body often resulting with a drooping of one arm or one side of the face. Sudden painful headaches may also be a symptom. Victims of strokes can suffer long-term physical disabilities.


African-Americans have nearly twice the risk than whites for having first strokes, according to the AHA. For instance, nearly 7 out of 1,000 black males between the ages of 45 and 84 will have strokes, compared to 3.6 for white males in the same age bracket. For black women, statistics indicate nearly 5 out of 1,000 will have strokes, compared to 2.3 white women.


Being healthy can help cut the risk of stroke significantly. Lowering high blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels are ways people can reduce their risks, according to Smoking and being overweight can contribute to stroke risks. People who binge drink--having more than five drinks in a short period of time--can increase stroke risks. Likewise, illegal drug use has been reported to contribute to elevated stroke risks.

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About the Author

Richard Huff is a journalist and author with nearly 30 years experience. He is the author of several books on motorsports and a handful of non-fiction titles for children. He's been working in daily journalism for two decades, and has had freelance work published in publications as Seventeen, Stock Car Racing and JEMS.