American Stroke Association identifies stroke myths vs. stroke facts

The National Stroke Association was founded in 1984 as the only national association devoted 100% to support stroke rehabilitation and prevention efforts.

A stroke is basically a "brain attack" that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blood clot or broken blood vessel. On average, every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke and about 800,000 people will be affected each year. For 7 million stroke survivors throughout the United States, receiving the appropriate education and care is essential to their recovery.

A stroke can happen to anyone at any time! A common fallacy is that only "old people have strokes." That simply isn't the case; a stroke can happen to anyone at any age, regardless of physical shape, race or gender.

The National Stroke Association offers largely free education, resources, services, and legislative advocacy focused on the needs of stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals in the stroke community nationwide. The National Stroke Association actively provide services to about 90,000 stroke survivors, 30,000 caregivers, and more than 110,000 healthcare professionals in the U.S. and Canada; and the number is growing every day.

Although stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability, many myths surround this disease.


MYTH: Stroke cannot be prevented. FACT: Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
MYTH: There is no treatment for stroke.  FACT: At any sign of stroke call 9-1-1- immediately. Treatment may be available.
MYTH: Stroke only affects the elderly.  FACT: Stroke can happen to anyone at any time.
MYTH: Stroke happens in the heart.  FACT: Stroke is a "brain attack".
MYTH: Stroke recovery only happens for the first few months after a stroke.  FACT: Stroke recovery is a lifelong process.
MYTH: Strokes are rare.  FACT: There are nearly 7 million stroke survivors in the U.S. Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S.
MYTH: Strokes are not hereditary.  FACT: Family history of stroke increases your chance for stroke.
MYTH: If stroke symptoms go away, you don’t have to see a doctor.  FACT: Temporary stroke symptoms are called transient ischemic attacks (TIA). They are warning signs prior to actual stroke and need to be seriously.

To reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by delivering education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.


  • Serve and support all impacted by stroke.
  • Raisthe voices of stroke survivors by advocating for equal access to care.
  • Education and support enriches every aspect of the recovery journey and enhances the dignity and equal treatment of stroke survivors.

Information on this page was provided by the American Stroke Association.