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50 States of Pre-COVID-19 Stroke Benchmarking Data

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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.

2011-2013 2016-2018
Alabama 94.9 98.8
Alaska 79.0 71.2
Arizona 57.5 59.3
Arkansas 95.1 81.2
California 69.0 72.4
Colorado 64.1 67.5
Connecticut 53.9 52.7
Delaware 74.5 89
District of Columbia 63.1 71.7
Florida 59.7 76.6
Georgia 81.3 83.3
Hawaii 68.2 72
Idaho 72.3 70.5
Illinois 73.1 74.4
Indiana 82.6 78.2
Iowa 66.5 63.3
Kansas 75.8 70
Kentucky 84.4 79.8
Louisiana 86.1 89.3
Maine 66.9 66.3
Maryland 71.4 79.1
Massachusetts 55.9 51.9
Michigan 72.5 76.8
Minnesota 64.8 63.3
Mississippi 94.1 99.9
Missouri 81.5 75.8
Montana 69.9 60.9
Nebraska 69.8 61.2
Nevada 66.9 71.4
New Hampshire 57.6 54.5
New Jersey 63.3 58.4
New Mexico 60.5 64.5
New York 51.9 47.0
North Carolina 83.0 81.3
North Dakota 69.0 65.3
Ohio 79.1 82.4
Oklahoma 87.8 78.8
Oregon 75.4 76.1
Pennsylvania 73.8 69.3
Rhode Island 56.6 54.7
South Carolina 90.3 85.7
South Dakota 76.1 66.1
Tennessee 88.4 84.3
Texas 80.0 78.1
Utah 73.7 69.5
Vermont 62.5 56.9
Virginia 78.3 74.2
Washington 68.4 68.7
West Virginia 86.4 77.9
Wisconsin 70.5 64.1
Wyoming 69.4 59.8
U.S. TOTAL 71.8 72.3

(Image: Design Cells/Adobe Stock)

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