Stroke: Overview

More than 700,000 Americans experience a stroke every year. Stroke causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease and is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.

People of all ages—including children and young adults—may experience stroke. However, your risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after age 55.

Although men have a higher risk for stroke, more women than men die from stroke. African Americans face a particularly high risk for stroke and stroke-related death than people of other ethnicities.

There are two kinds of stroke:

  • Ischemic strokes happen when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked, usually by a clot, or narrowed due to plaque buildup. Ischemic stroke accounts for roughly 80% of all strokes.
  • Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 20% of all strokes.