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Initiative will help educate community about warning signs and symptoms of a stroke

Is Middle Tennessee under pressure? High blood pressure that is. Summit Medical Center, part of the TriStar Stroke Network, recently launched “Pressure Check” to find out and help educate the community about the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke.

“The good news is that fewer Americans die of strokes now than did 20 years ago,” said Jackie Harper, MSN, RN, NP-c, stroke coordinator for Summit Medical Center. “Improvement in the control of major risk factors — smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol — may be responsible for the decline. That is why we launched this initiative to educate our community about what to do in the event of a stroke.”

Think F.A.S.T.

Pressure Check is a multi-platform, community awareness initiative to help Middle Tennesseans learn their blood pressure numbers and what to do if someone they know is suffering a stroke—the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in Tennessee. Through public service announcements, outdoor billboards, evening news broadcast sponsorships and on-air television interviews with TriStar stroke experts, TriStar is “putting the pressure on” all of Middle Tennessee to learn the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke.

The stroke awareness initiative also involves a series of free blood pressure screenings, called “Pressure Checks”, held at local community events and venues throughout the next six months. The goal of these Pressure Checks is to take the blood pressure of as many Middle Tennesseans as possible to determine the average blood pressure of our community and find out if it is under or over pressure. Nearly 33 percent of adult Tennesseans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

The Pressure Check blood pressure screenings also provide the opportunity to educate the community about the risk factors for a stroke and teach individuals how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke by remembering “F.A.S.T.”—Facial droop or uneven smile, Arm numbness or weakness, Speech is slurred, Time to act and get to the hospital immediately.

"The best way to prevent a stroke is to change your risk factors and make routine appointments with a healthcare provider to manage any medical conditions that could be contributing to the risk," Harper said. "Time is critical – stroke is a medical emergency and anyone who experiences signs or symptoms should call 9-1-1 or go the closest emergency room.”

For a complete schedule of upcoming Pressure Check screening events at Summit Medical Center, please call TriStar MedLine at 615-342-1919 or 1-800-242-5662 or visit


*Please let me know if you are interested in speaking with our Stroke Coordinator, Jackie Harper – Summit’s next “Pressure Check” will be held at the Sonic in Mt. Juliet on Thursday, July 21:

Sonic Restaurant
713 South Mt. Juliet Road
Mt. Juliet, TN 37112
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.