Stoke is the fifth leading cause of death in Montana behind illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. But is stoke in Montana on the decline?

Mike McNamara with the Cardiovascular Health Program at the state health department has been researching stroke in the state. He's discovered that despite Montana's relatively high stroke numbers, nationally, the state has taken a turn for the better.

"In Montana, there's anywhere from about 2,000 to 2,500 strokes per year," McNamara said. "That translates into about 500 deaths attributed to stroke in Montana."

According to McNamara, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in Montana. He adds that stroke is also something that has become less prevalent in the state.

"Montana mirrors what's happening nationally," McNamara said. "When we look back 30 years ago in the late 70s, the prevalence of stroke mortality was about 90 people per 100,000. Fast forward that 30 years, that rate now has dropped down to 40 per 100,000, so we've more than reduced the rate of stroke mortality, so there has been positives associated with stroke."

McNamara says doing simple things like exercising and maintaining low cholesterol can greatly reduce the risk of stroke.