National Stroke Association Survey Reveals Americans Fear Brain Damage the Most, but Few Take the Necessary Steps to Prevent a Stroke

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May is National Stroke Awareness Month: Stroke is the #1 Cause of Adult Disability, #5 Cause of Death in the U.S.

National Stroke Association

"National Stroke Association challenges Americans to make a positive choice today by taking one small step to reduce the risk of a stroke happening to you," said Matt Lopez, CEO of National Stroke Association.

A new survey from National Stroke Association reveals that among brain, heart or lung damage, 66 percent of Americans fear brain damage the most. The results, released to coincide with National Stroke Awareness Month in May, shed light on the need for greater awareness of the everyday steps people can take to help prevent a stroke. By controlling modifiable risk factors, 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

A stroke is a “brain attack” that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blood clot or broken blood vessel. Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and the fifth leading cause of death in America.

“In 2011, I had a stroke after a long flight,” said Matt Lopez, CEO of National Stroke Association. “Today, it’s part of my life mission to drive awareness for stroke prevention. An astounding 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. National Stroke Association challenges Americans to take one small step today to reduce the risk of a stroke happening to you.”

A stroke can happen to anyone at anytime. Women, Hispanics and African-Americans in the U.S. have the highest stroke risk, and it’s not just the elderly. Some 30 percent of strokes occur in those under age 65; in certain Southeastern states it is more than 50 percent.

In April 2015, Harris International surveyed more than 2,000 Americans asking, “Of the following health issues, which one would you most fear happening to you?” A full 66 percent of respondents reported they fear brain damage the most among brain, heart and lung damage, yet few take the necessary steps to prevent a stroke.


One of the first steps to prevention is identifying if you have any controllable or uncontrollable risk factors and beginning to manage them. Small steps make a difference.

Visit the Make Your Choice website and watch and share the video to learn more about how you can reduce your chances of having a stroke.

In 1987, National Stroke Association received the first Presidential Proclamation declaring May as National Stroke Awareness Month. For the past 28 years, the organization has used May as a platform to educate the public about the devastating disease, its warning signs and the associated risk factors.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently moved stroke to the fifth leading cause of death, down from fourth. Increased awareness of the warning signs, new treatment options, and better stroke education are all contributing factors to the decrease in stroke morbidity.

However, as U.S. baby boomers age, the outlook for stroke worsens. Deaths from ischemic stroke, the most common type, are predicted to nearly double between 2000 and 2032. Broad stroke prevention education must be disseminated to combat this expected “stroke tsunami.”

National Stroke Association is the only national organization in the U.S. that focuses 100 percent of its efforts on stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke. Founded in 1984, the organization works every day to meet its mission to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke.

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Clair Diones
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