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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Understanding Stroke

Contact the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke) or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke).  When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs and this can lead to damage or death of the affected area of the brain.1

 In 2020, stroke was the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. For African Americans, the risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice that of Caucasian Americans. The geographic areas with the highest death rates due to stroke are in the southeastern United States. Stroke can also cause disability and reduce mobility.1,3

Use the Heart Disease and Stroke widget below developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to view data on heart disease and stroke death rates by race and gender in Florida and across the United States from 2015 to 2017.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About Stroke. Retrieved February 3, 2020, from:
  2. Heron M. Deaths: Leading causes for 2017. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 68 no 6. Hyattsville, MD. National Center for Health Statistics, 2019. Retrieved December 9, 2019, from:
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2019. Stroke Facts. Retrieved December 9, 2019, from: