Newswise — Affecting approximately 9 million Americans, peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) can lead to heart attack, stroke, amputation and death. That’s why the Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.) Coalition wants you to learn about P.A.D. during September’s awareness month.
In support of P.A.D. Awareness Month, the P.A.D. Coalition is providing a free online interactive workbook that works like an online booklet, with turning pages, narrated text, videos, graphics, printable handouts and quizzes. It covers risk factors, symptoms and diagnosis and the key components of disease management. To access the workbook and many additional patient and provider resources, visit http://www.padcoalition.org/resources/interactive-workbook.php.
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.
While everyone over the age of 50 is at risk for P.A.D., the risk increases if a person:
• Smokes, or used to smoke• Has diabetes• Has high blood pressure• Has abnormal blood cholesterol• Is African American• Has a personal history of coronary heart disease or stroke
A devastating disease that is often undiagnosed, many with the disease do not even know they have it. That’s because often P.A.D. causes no recognizable symptoms. However, some people with P.A.D. may have one or more symptoms such as 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.
National medical guidelines recommend that certain individuals be tested for P.A.D. including those that have one or more of the following:
• Under 50 years of age but have diabetes and at least one other risk factor including a history of smoking, abnormal cholesterol and/or high blood pressure• Aged 50 years or older and have diabetes• Aged 50 years or older and is a former or current smoker• Aged 70 years or older.• 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).
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. This test can be done in most doctors’ offices. Information on the test and how to manage P.A.D. are detailed in the online workbook (http://www.padcoalition.org/resources/interactive-workbook.php).
For more information on P.A.D. Awareness Month, screening resources and sites, patient education, and the P.A.D. Coalition, please visit http://www.padcoalition.org/resources/month.php. To receive a free “Heart and Sole Kit” with more information on P.A.D. please visit http://www.padcoalition.org or call 1-866-PAD-INFO (866-723-4636).
P.A.D. CoalitionThe 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 an initiative of the Vascular Disease Foundation (www.vdf.org), a national, not-for-profit section 501(c)(3) organization. It is supported in part by the following national sponsors: the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi Pharmaceuticals Partnership; Cordis Endovascular, a division of Cordis Corporation; Abbott Vascular; AstraZeneca; Bard Peripheral Vascular; BioMedix; Cook Medical, Inc;, ev3 Endovascular, Inc.; W.L. Gore & Associates; Medtronic, Aastrom; PADTest; Summit Doppler and Unetixs/Cardiac Science. The P.A.D. Coalition seeks to improve the prevention, early detection, treatment, and rehabilitation of people with, or at risk for, PAD. To learn more visit www.padcoalition.org.