NDSU students help community members act FAST in stroke prevention program


November 6, 2017 – Fargo, North Dakota – A stroke awareness and community outreach program at North Dakota State University, originally piloted in Fargo, will now be made available in rural areas. Dakota Medical Foundation has awarded a $9,000 grant to Marketa Marvanova, chair of pharmacy practice in NDSU’s College of Health Professions. The grant award will help bring the stroke educational and screening program to communities in eastern North Dakota.

Every 40 seconds, someone suffers a stroke. Knowing the signs of a stroke and how to lessen risk factors are important. Through community outreach, NDSU pharmacy students and Dr. Marvanova share information on risk factors for stroke, along with additional education.

Marvanova said the project, funded by Dakota Medical Foundation, plans to partner with communities in Barnes, Grand Forks, Griggs, Nelson, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, and Traill counties in conjunction with community organizations between November 2017 and July 2018.

If your community or organization would like to host or partner for a stroke awareness and prevention program event in your town, please contact Dr. Marvanova at marketa.marvanova@ndsu.edu

Representatives from the NDSU School of Pharmacy initially partnered with local organizations in Fargo to provide screening/education sessions in early 2017. Participants receive blood pressure and heart rate readings, and complete a short questionnaire in an effort to learn more about risk factors for stroke, warning signs and ways to lessen risk factors. A 30-minute presentation helps participants to learn more about strokes, transient ishemic attacks, commonly called mini-strokes, and ways to manage their health to decrease the chance of stroke.

Marvanova and trained student pharmacists assist participants in knowing their numbers and help those who may be in need of additional medical referrals to manage risk of stroke. Additionally, follow-up calls are provided three months later to identify what actions were taken and to discuss recommendations received from health care providers.

In the U.S., stroke is the leading cause of functional impairment of adults, and the third leading cause of death among women and fifth among men, according to Marvanova.

“The key risk factor for a stroke is high blood pressure and one in three adults have high blood pressure,” said Marvanova.

“Blood pressure screening is a very cost-effective way to aid in prevention of other cardiovascular complications. For individuals, prevention and quick stroke symptom recognition are critically important,” said Marvanova.

The program also will help participants learn how to act FAST if a stroke occurs.

The acronym stands for Face—ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? Arms—ask them to raise both arms and check if one arm drifts downward. Speech—ask the person to repeat a simple phrase and check if speech is slurred or strange. And Time—call 911 immediately. 

For more information about the stroke awareness and prevention educational program, please contact Dr. Marvanova at marketa.marvanova@ndsu.edu 

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