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What is stroke?

Stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is suddenly blocked or bleeds. As a result, brain function may be lost and activities such as movement, thinking and communication may be impaired.

Key facts

Prevalence - number of Australians who have had a stroke at some time in their lives 2003 346,700
Hospitalisations in 2006-07 34,476
Deaths in 2006 8,484

Note: Covers ICD-10 codes I60-I64

Did you know?

  • Falls in death rates from cerebrovascular disease (mostly stroke) have occurred in Australia since the 1970s. Age-standardised cerebrovascular disease death rates fell by 37% in males and 32% in females between 1996 and 2006.
  • Older people are more likely to have a stroke: 80% of Australians who have had a stroke are 60 years or over.
  • More women than men have a stroke and die from stroke.
  • About 146,400 Australians had a disability in 2003 that was mainly attributed to stroke.

More information

Publications showing detailed statistics (free full text)

Deaths from stroke, 2005 (1.5MB XLS)

Hospitalisations from stroke (hospital data cubes)

Risk factors for stroke

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