Stroke around the world: the shocking truth

If there’s one thing people of different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds have in common, it’s health. Many health threats on the minds of Americans are also issues for people in nations across the world. The silent killer known as stroke not only ends an American life every four minutes, it kills 6 million people around the globe every year.

A stroke occurs when an obstruction or rupture in a blood vessel disrupts blood flow to the brain. It can occur as an ischemic stroke, the most common type which involves a blood clot, or a hemorrhagic stroke, which involves a rupture and bleeding around the brain. Both are life-altering, potentially deadly conditions.

When many people think of worldwide killers, they probably think of conditions like heart disease, AIDS, or cancer – all of which are serious health conditions. However, do you know the true impact of stroke around the world? Life Line Screening brings you the startling truth behind the world’s silent killer.

Most strokes are not painful. Most ischemic strokes, which account for 80 percent of all strokes, do not hurt. When lack of blood flow to the brain cuts off oxygen to its cells, the cells begin to die. This is often not felt by the individual. That’s why understanding stroke symptoms such as sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body and sudden trouble speaking are so important.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide in people over 60 years old. Not only does stroke occur in 795,000 Americans yearly, it affects 152,000 people in the United Kingdom every year. Stroke also accounts for 6 percent of all Australian deaths and is the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease deaths in Australia.

Stroke kills more people worldwide than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Data from the World Stroke Campaign reveals that in 2008, AIDS killed 2 million people, tuberculosis killed 1.8 million people, and malaria killed 1 million people. With almost 6 million worldwide deaths caused by stroke every year, the silent killer is more deadly than these three diseases combined.

Because stroke is so prevalent around the world, it’s important to do your part by taking your health into your own hands and doing what you can to avoid becoming a statistic. One way to do this is to adopt a healthier lifestyle by eating a nutritious diet, staying active, keeping an eye on your blood pressure, and undergoing preventive health screenings that can identify your stroke risk before it reaches debilitating or even deadly levels.

Lack of understanding and knowledge is often the case when it comes to stroke stealing precious lives. The best thing you can do is know, understand, and take charge of your own stroke risk through healthy actions – starting today.