What Are the Signs of a Stroke? Luke Perry is One of 140,000 Americans Who Die From a Stroke Each Year

Beverly Hills, 90210 star Luke Perry died Monday, days after the Hollywood star suffered a massive stroke. The actor was 52 years old.

Perry was one of thousands of Americans to suffer from the disease. More than 140,000 Americans die from stroke each year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, while more than 795,000 people suffer from the health ailment every year. It's the fifth leading cause of death overall in the States.

Stroke survivors are prone to suffering long-term disabilities, including loss of mobility at a more rapid pace after reaching the age of 65.

What Are the Signs of Stroke?
Luke Perry arrives for the press line of 'Riverdale' at Comic Con in San Diego, July 21, 2018. Perry died following a massive stroke on March 4, 2019. CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images

While it's unclear if Perry experienced a stroke before the one that claimed his life, it is quite common for people to previously suffer a stroke before having a massive stroke. One in every four people who have had a massive stroke experienced smaller ones beforehand, the department reported.

The type of stroke Perry suffered from has not yet been identified, however, the majority of strokes in the U.S.—some 87 percent—are ischemic strokes, which occur when blood struggles to flow to the brain due to blockage caused by fatty deposits. Less common, but still considerably deadly, types of strokes include thrombotic ischemic stroke—which occur when a blood vessel is completely blocked—and hemorrhagic strokes, triggered when weakened blood vessels fracture and bleed into the brain.

Strokes can affect anyone at any age. An American Academy of Neurology report published in 2017, said 15 percent of ischemic strokes are experienced by young adults and adolescents while a 2009 CDC report found 34 percent of strokes occurred in people less than 65 years old. The elderly are still considered the largest at-risk age group.

One of the most important aspects of surviving a stroke is being aware of the risk factors and symptoms.

While the disease can happen to anyone at any time, high blood pressure is the biggest risk factor, according to the CDC. Those suffering from diabetes, high blood cholesterol, obesity and other types of heart diseases are also more prone t experiencing a stroke. Smoking is also a trigger.

Maintaining an active lifestyle and a healthy diet can help prevent strokes. The American Stroke Association recommended avoiding foods high in saturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol as well as regulating and reducing sodium intake to help combat chances of a stroke.

Recognizing the symptoms also goes a long way. People who undergo hospital care within three hours of a stroke tend to have more mobility within three months of recovery.

Some of the most common symptoms of a stroke include numbness or weakened muscles in the face, arms, legs, or specifically one side of the body; sudden confusion; slurred words, trouble speaking and understanding speech; sudden weakened vision in one or both eyes; dizziness or difficulty walking and maintaining coordination and sudden severe headache, the CDC reported.

Both the CDC and the ASA suggest the acronym F.A.S.T. for help with remembering symptoms of a stroke:

  • Face is drooping.
  • Arms are weak.
  • Speech difficulty.
  • Time to call 911.