P.A.D. Coalition and Society for Vascular Nursing Urge Americans to Get a Leg Up on Vascular Health - Free Screenings for Peripheral Arterial Disease Offered During Sep

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Approximately 9 million Americans have peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.), a common and dangerous vascular disease that can lead to heart attack, stroke, amputation and death. The P.A.D. Coalition and Society for Vascular Nursing Urge Americans to learn more about free screenings offered during September’s P.A.D. Awareness Month.

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P.A.D. is a devastating disease that is often undiagnosed

Approximately 9 million Americans have peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.), a common and dangerous vascular disease that can lead to heart attack, stroke, amputation and death. Unfortunately, many with the disease do not even know they have it.

September is P.A.D. Awareness Month, and the P.A.D. Coalition and the Society for Vascular Nursing are joining forces with local hospitals to inform Americans about the risk factors, warning signs and consequences of P.A.D. The effort is sponsored by ev3 Endovascular, Inc. and BioMedix, Inc.

P.A.D. occurs when arteries in the legs become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits, reducing blood flow to the legs. This can result in leg muscle pain when walking, disability, amputation, and poor quality of life. Blocked arteries found in people with P.A.D. can be a red flag that other arteries, including those in the heart and brain, may also be blocked – increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Everyone over age 50 is at risk for P.A.D., and your risk increases if you:

  • Smoke, or used to smoke
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have abnormal blood cholesterol
  • Are African American
  • Have a personal history of coronary heart disease or stroke

In many, P.A.D. is a silent disease, causing no recognizable symptoms. People with P.A.D. may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • “Claudication” – fatigue, heaviness, tiredness or cramping in the leg muscles (calf, thigh or buttocks) that occurs during activity such as walking and goes away with rest.
  • Foot or toe pain at rest that often disturbs sleep
  • Skin wounds or ulcers on the feet or toes that are slow to heal (or that do not heal for 8 to 12 weeks).

“P.A.D. is a devastating disease that is often undiagnosed,” stated Marge Lovell, RN, Chair of the P.A.D. Coalition, Past President of the Society for Vascular Nursing and clinical trials nurse at the London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario. “By partnering with hospitals in local communities to sound the alarm about P.A.D., we aim to reach at risk individuals with life saving information.”

Participating hospitals for September events include:

  • Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC
  • Hunterdon Medical Center, Flemington, NJ
  • St John Hospital, Detroit, MI
  • Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Alabaster, AL

Additional hospitals will host events in October. For more information on screening sites, go to http://www.padcoalition.org/screenings/find-a-site.php

The screening test for P.A.D. is called the ankle-brachial index, a painless, non-invasive test that compares the blood pressure in the ankles with the blood pressure in the arms.

National medical guidelines recommend that certain individuals be tested for P.A.D. Review the following sentences and place a check next to any that apply to you.

o I am under 50 years of age, have diabetes and at least one other risk factor:

  • History of smoking
  • Abnormal cholesterol
  • High blood pressure

o I am aged 50 years or older and have diabetes.
o I am aged 50 years or older and am a former or current smoker.
o I am aged 70 years or older.
o I have one or more symptoms of P.A.D.

  • Fatigue, heaviness, tiredness or cramping in the leg muscles (calf, thigh or buttocks) that occurs during activity such as walking and goes away with rest.
  • Foot or toe pain at rest that often disturbs sleep
  • Skin wounds or ulcers on the feet or toes that are slow to heal (or that do not heal for 8 to 12 weeks).

If you marked one or more items, talk to your health care provider about being tested for P.A.D.

Society for Vascular Nursing
Founded in 1982, the Society for Vascular Nursing is a not-for-profit International association dedicated to promoting excellence in the compassionate and comprehensive management of persons with vascular disease. The Society's mission is to provide a professional community for vascular nurses focused on advancing the care of persons living with vascular disease through excellence in clinical practice, education, and research.

P.A.D. Coalition
The Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.) Coalition is an alliance of more than 80 North American health organizations, professional societies, government agencies and corporations united to improve the health and care of patients with P.A.D. Established in 2004, the P.A.D. Coalition is a division of the Vascular Disease Foundation (http://www.vdf.org), a national, not-for-profit section 501(c)(3) organization. The P.A.D. Coalition seeks to improve the prevention, early detection, treatment, and rehabilitation of people with, or at risk for, P.A.D.

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