What You Need to Know
- COVID-19 is famous for attacking people's lungs.
- It also attacks people's blood vessels.
- Stroke was already responsible for about 5% of deaths before the pandemic started.
Stroke was one of the menaces facing Americans, and U.S. life insurers, even before COVID-19 came along.
Stroke was afflicting about 795,000 U.S. residents every year, and killing about 137,000. It was killing people at about twice the rate in some states as in others, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Now, COVID-19 may be reshaping the stroke map.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is known for damaging the lungs. It can also damage the kidneys, the heart, blood vessels and the brain.
Researchers are publishing some papers on the rate of stroke among people hospitalized with acute COVID-19. They are just beginning to study what COVID-19 has done to the incidence of kidney damage, heart damage, stroke and other health problems among the general population. There are some early indications that COVID-19 may cause chronic health problems even in people who had only mild COVID-19 symptoms, or no symptoms at all.
To analyze the effects of COVID-19 on stroke, medical researchers, life insurance company actuaries and life insurance underwriters will be comparing post-pandemic data with population health data collected right before the pandemic started.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer and Epidemiology and Genetics have published an interactive chart that shows that the number of U.S. deaths from strokes may have been about 10% higher than normal since the pandemic began, in early 2020.
The U.S. stroke mortality figures for the period from 2017 through 2019 show that stroke killed about 71.4 people per 100,000 residents ages 35 and older per year, or about 1 out of every 1,400 residents ages 35 and older per year.
The lowest 2017-2019 stroke mortality rate was in New York state: 47 stroke deaths per 100,000 residents ages 35 and older per year.
For the five states with the highest 2017-2019 stroke mortality rates, see the slideshow above.
For 2011-2013 stroke mortality rates and 2016-2018 mortality rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, see the table below.
The age-adjusted, three-year average stroke mortality rate per 100,000 people ages 35 and older.
|District of Columbia||63.1||71.7|
(Image: Design Cells/Adobe Stock)