Worldwide, stroke is the second leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious long-term disability. In the United States, nearly 800,000 strokes occur each year; thus stroke is the fifth leading cause of death overall and the fourth leading cause of death among women (1). Major advances in stroke prevention through treatment of known risk factors has led to stroke being considered largely preventable. For example, in the United States, stroke mortality rates have declined 70% over the past 50 years, in large part because of important reductions in hypertension, tobacco smoking, and more recently, increased use of anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation (2,3). Although the reduction in stroke mortality is recognized as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century (4), gains can still be made. Approximately 80% of strokes could be prevented by screening for and addressing known risks with measures such as improving hypertension control, smoking cessation, diabetes prevention, cholesterol management, increasing use of anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation, and eliminating excessive alcohol consumption (5,6).


George MG, Fischer L, Koroshetz W, Bushnell C, Frankel M, Foltz J, Thorpe PG. CDC Grand Rounds: Public Health Strategies to Prevent and Treat Strokes. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 May 12;66(18):479-481. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6618a5. PMID: 28493856; PMCID: PMC5657990.