Stroke was the second most common cause of death worldwide in 2004, resulting in 5.7 million deaths (~10% of the total). Approximately 9 million people had a stroke in 2008 and 30 million people have previously had a stroke and are still alive. It is ranked after heart disease and before cancer. Geographic disparities in stroke incidence have been observed, including the existence of a "stroke belt" in the southeastern United States, but causes of these disparities have not been explained.
The incidence of stroke increases exponentially from 30 years of age, and etiology varies by age. Advanced age is one of the most significant stroke risk factors. 95% of strokes occur in people age 45 and older, and two-thirds of strokes occur in those over the age of 65. A person's risk of dying if he or she does have a stroke also increases with age. However, stroke can occur at any age, including in childhood.
Family members may have a genetic tendency for stroke or share a lifestyle that contributes to stroke. Higher levels of Von Willebrand factor are more common amongst people who have had ischemic stroke for the first time. The results of this study found that the only significant genetic factor was the person's blood type. Having had a stroke in the past greatly increases one's risk of future strokes.
Men are 25% more likely to suffer strokes than women, yet 60% of deaths from stroke occur in women. Since women live longer, they are older on average when they have their strokes and thus more often killed (NIMH 2002). Some risk factors for stroke apply only to women. Primary among these are pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and the treatment thereof (HRT).
Read more about Stroke: History
Famous quotes containing the word stroke:
“Just at the stroke when my veins start and spread,
Set on my soul an everlasting head.
Then am I ready, like a palmer fit,
To tread those blest paths which before I writ.”
—Sir Walter Raleigh (1552?1618)
“If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lovers pinch,
Which hurts, and is desired.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“A stroke of the pen is better than a stroke of the sword, no?”
—Ernest Pascal, and Walter Lang. Wilhelm (Stanley Andrews)