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St. Joseph Hospital Urges Area Residents to Get a Leg Up on Vascular Health

Free screenings for Peripheral Arterial Disease offered Sept. 29

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Sept. 20, 2010) — St. Joseph Hospital will conduct free screenings for peripheral arterial disease on Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 1 to 7 p.m. at the St. Joseph Orthopaedic Center, which is located in suite 201 of the attached medical office building, 800 Broadway. The screenings will be conducted by appointment only. To schedule an appointment or for additional information, call (260) 425-3269.

Approximately 9 million Americans have P.A.D., a common and dangerous vascular disease that can lead to heart attack, stroke, amputation and death. September is P.A.D. Awareness Month, and St. Joe wants to inform the public about the risk factors, warning signs and consequences of P.A.D.

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. 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

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 eight to 12 weeks).

"P.A.D. is a devastating disease that is often undiagnosed," stated Brandon Haushalter, chief operating officer, St. Joseph Hospital. "St. Joe is working to increase awareness of P.A.D. and improve our community's vascular health."

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

View the boxed information to find out if you should be screened for P.A.D.

Who Should be Tested for P.A.D.?

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

  • I am under 50 years of age, have diabetes and at least one other risk factor:
  • History of smoking
  • Abnormal cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • I am aged 50 years or older and have diabetes.
  • I am aged 50 years or older and am a former or current smoker.
  • I am aged 70 years or older.
  • 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 eight to 12 weeks).

If you checked one or more boxes, call (260) 425-3269 to schedule an appointment.

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