Created in 1997, the American Stroke Association is dedicated to prevention, diagnosis and treatment to save lives from stroke — America’sNo. 5 killer and a leading cause of serious disability. We fund scientific research, help people better understand and avoid stroke, encourage government support, guide healthcare professionals and provide information to enhance the quality of life for stroke survivors.
In the United States, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die. If blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won’t work as it should.
Blacks have almost twice the risk of first-ever strokes compared to whites, which is linked to the prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans in the United States (the highest in the world).
Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (called an ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke). A transient ischemic attack (also known as a TIA or “mini stroke”) is caused by a temporary clot that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. A person who has had at least one or more TIA is almost 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone who hasn’t. TIAs should be considered a medical emergency and followed up immediately with a healthcare professional.