Stroke Drops to Fifth Leading Cause of Death, but Occurrence Up

Old COX-2 Inhibitors Tied to Stroke Mortality
Old COX-2 Inhibitors Tied to Stroke Mortality
Stroke deaths are decreasing, but stroke occurrence is increasing, especially among younger populations.

The American Heart Association has revealed that someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, every 40 seconds. The association reported on this statistic and more in its annual state of the union address.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, while stroke is the second leading cause of death, affected about 30 million people in 2010. The AHA reported that stroke is responsible for nearly 130,000 deaths every year in the U.S., however, that rate is falling.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report on mortality in the U.S. in 2013, stroke is now the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., swapping places with unintentional injuries, which moved to the fourth spot. This is the second time since 2011 that stroke has dropped down a spot on the ranking.

The stroke death rate dropped from 36.9% in 2012 to 36.2% in 2013; however 432 more people died from stroke in 2013 compared to 2012. The center noted that although stroke death rate may be decreasing, incidents of stroke are on the rise, which can be attributed to an aging population and more occurrence of stroke in younger people. Physicians speculate that the rise of stroke in young people is due to the increase in prevalence of risk factors like obesity and diabetes.

As the death rate decreases, the medical community is still faced with caring for the numerous stroke survivors that are left disabled, which places an even heavier burden on the health care system through rising care costs and a growing need for more specialized care centers. 


  1. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Circulation. 2015; doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000152.
  2. NCHS Data Brief. Mortality in the United States, 2013. Available here: