Stroke Awareness: What Every Adult Should Know

  • July 03, 2019

The recent deaths of two popular celebrities in their early fifties, Luke Perry and John Singleton, helped shine the spotlight on strokes. While many think strokes only happen to older adults, the statistics prove otherwise. As much as 10% of strokes that occur in the US are people age 45 and under.

Strokes by the Number

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US. In fact, about 795,000 people have a stroke every year. This equates to someone in this country experiencing a stroke every 45 seconds.

  • 600,000 of these strokes are first occurrences
  • 185,000 strokes are a recurrence
  • 75% of those who experience stroke are over the age of 65

These statistics highlight why it is important for adult children and family caregivers to know the facts about stroke and to be aware of the warning signs that someone is experiencing one.

Frequently Asked Questions about Strokes

Q: What is a stroke?

Answer: A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or bursts. Part of the brain begins to die when it can’t get oxygen. A stroke can disable a person quickly.

Q: What are the risk factors for a stroke?

Answer: The most common risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and being overweight. If you have a family history of strokes, that can also put you at higher risk.

Q: Is there more than one kind of stroke?

Answer: According to the American Heart Association, there are three primary types of strokes:

  • Ischemic stroke occurs when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke is the result of a blood vessel rupturing and bleeding into the brain.
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), commonly referred to as a mini-stroke, is caused by a temporary blood clot. Of the three types of strokes, a TIA is most common.

Q: What is the lasting impact of a stroke?

Answer: While every stroke is unique, the most common long-term damage includes paralysis, numbness, or weakness on one side of the body. Strokes can also cause speech problems, difficulty swallowing, incontinence, and vision loss. Stroke survivors often struggle with depression too.

Q: What are the signs someone is having a stroke?

Answer: The most common signs and symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Drooping on one side of the face
  • Numbness in the face and/or extremities
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Loss of balance or difficulty walking
  • Sudden extreme headache

If you or a senior loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above, call 9-1-1 immediately. Every second counts when someone is having a stroke.

Q: Can a stroke be treated?

Answer: The faster a person who is experiencing a stroke receives medical help, the better their chances for a full recovery. If you think someone with you is having a stroke, note the time of the first symptom and call 9-1-1 right away.

Medications and surgery are two common emergency treatments that limit brain damage, but early intervention is the key. Long-term stroke rehabilitation focuses on therapy to regain strength and recover as much function as possible.

Rehab to Home at Five Star Senior Living

If an older adult in your life needs the support of a rehabilitation center to recover from a stroke, our Rehab to Home program can be a solution. Call us at (617) 796-8387 to learn more about patient-centered care at Five Star Senior Living.


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