GREENSBORO, N.C. — The death of actor Luke Perry shocked a lot of people. The "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Riverdale" star died Monday following a stroke. He was 52 years old.

The CDC says strokes are the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S., impacting 800,000 people a year. 75% of people who suffer a stroke are 65-years-old or older.

What is a Stroke?

The CDC says a stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, happens when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.

What Causes a Stroke?

The CDC says you can’t control some stroke risk factors, like heredity, age, gender, and ethnicity. Some medical conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, overweight or obesity, and previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), can also raise your risk. 

Doctors advise avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol, eating a balanced diet, and getting exercise to help reduce your risk.

Karissa LaClair joined us on WFMY News 2 at 5 to talk more about strokes. She's a nurse practitioner and the manager of the stroke program at Cone Health.