DALLAS September 6, 2017American Heart Association/American Stroke Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on slowing progress in the prevention of stroke deaths, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Today’s report is distressing, but unfortunately not unexpected based on our previous projections. After more than four decades of decline, progress in preventing stroke deaths has slowed across most states and demographic groups. We’ve especially lost ground in the battle to save lives among Hispanics and those living in the South, despite our ongoing efforts to reduce death and disability from stroke.

Back in 2010, the Association set an aggressive goal to reduce stroke deaths by 20 percent by 2020. This report gives us even more reason to aggressively continue our efforts, especially in multicultural communities and to reach people at younger ages, as we are seeing more strokes in people in their 30s and 40s.

One of the best ways to reduce deaths from stroke is to prevent the stroke from occurring in the first place. We have increased our efforts in helping people and their doctors to control stroke risk factors, including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. The report also showcases the need to continue our programs and advocacy work to treat acute stroke more effectively through improvements in the health system’s response to stroke and increased public knowledge of stroke symptoms and the importance of calling 9-1-1 during a stroke emergency. In addition, we are reaching more hospitals in disadvantaged communities, where stroke is most prevalent, with our stroke systems of care initiative.

Sadly, an estimated 30,000 people have died from stroke -- friends and family members -- that would otherwise still be alive if the progress on stroke mortality had maintained the same downward trajectory.

The heartbreaking part is that while stroke is a leading cause of death in the U.S., it is largely preventable through lifestyle changes, increasingly treatable, and now, more than ever, should be beatable. With the AHA/ASA and its partners putting more strategic efforts in place, together, we can look forward to a day when stroke is no longer a culprit to people losing precious moments in their lives.


Media Inquiries: 

Toiya Honore: (214)-706-1456 Toiya.honore@heart.org

Mara Silverio 214-706-1508 mara.silverio@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org