Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta -- speaking ahead of World Stroke Day, Saturday -- Americans should take immediate action to reduce their risk for stroke -- one of the leading causes of death in the United States. About 137,000 Americans die of stroke every year, Frieden said.
A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.
"We can do so much more to prevent strokes and the new Million Hearts initiative offers opportunities for individuals, providers, communities, and businesses to apply tools we have readily available today to reduce strokes and heart attacks," Frieden said in a statement.
People can greatly reduce their risk for stroke via lifestyle changes including:
-- Taking aspirin for people at risk.
-- Controlling blood pressure.
-- Cholesterol management.
-- Smoking cessation.