Screenings Fill Vast Gap in Medical Prevention

Doug White nearly became a statistic. His abdominal aorta ruptured.
Few people survive such trauma, but White did and later underwent heart bypass surgery. Today he is fit, trim and eager to provide preventive health maintenance to others.
Doug and his wife Judy operate the Stroke Prevention Plus franchise in Oklahoma. The operation fills a void in the medical field by providing educational seminars focused on strokes, abdominal aortic aneurysm and peripheral vascular disease.
In the U.S., stroke is the third-leading killer — behind cancer and heart disease. It is the No. 1 reason for nursing home admissions.
Most could avoid strokes if they underwent one or two simple, painless procedures.
Stroke Prevention Plus makes screenings easy, affordable and accurate, Doug White said. The couple travels across the state conducting seminars and telling thousands about the dangers of stroke and how easy a health screening can save a life.
The Houston-based company has operations in Arizona and Missouri in addition to Oklahoma and Texas, said Misty Dunivan, owner and president.
Stroke Prevention Plus is not as concerned with getting numbers through the doors as it is about education, White said.
“We focus on knowing the warning signs, the risk factors, anything they can change,” he said.
Dunivan agreed.
Last year, the Whites talked to more than 8,000 in their seminars. Through the first eight months this year, they have addressed 5,000 and expect to reach nearly 10,000 by Dec. 31.
It is significant that 75 percent of all strokes can be prevented with screening. Yet, many times the symptoms of diseases like stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysms and osteoporosis are silent — there is no pain, little or no discomfort, White said.
“The problem is that insurance rules restrict physicians from performing the tests that would alert people — unless the patient shows symptoms,” he said.
And, the warning signs are absent — until it is too late, Dunivan said.
“Amazingly, 97 percent of the adult population cannot name one warning sign of a stroke,” Dunivan said. “Those are the statistics that we try to change with our educational workshops and with our vascular screenings.”
Stroke Prevention Plus offers four screenings that use ultrasound to visualize buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries.
The tests cost $35 each, or all three vascular screenings are $95. The osteoporosis screening is an additional $30 and is done mainly on women over 40.
After the screenings are performed, results are fowarded to a radiologist to interpret. Those results are sent directly to the individual with a letter explaining the findings.
In rare cases, when someone is at risk, their doctor is contacted immediately.
These tests for diseased arteries reduce deaths and disability. ?

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