Leg pain while walking that subsides when at rest is the most common symptom of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), a potentially deadly disease affecting 10 million Americansmost of whom dont know they have it.
In an effort to identify some of these people, SwedishAmerican Health System will join hundreds of hospitals nationwide this September in Legs For Lifea national free screening campaign for PVD leg pain.
PVD is caused by blocked blood flow in the arteries of the legs. People with the disease are at increased risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or a life-threatening aneurysm. The early detection and treatment of PVD, most common in people older than age 50, is important in successfully controlling it.
SwedishAmerican will conduct the free screenings on Sunday, Sept. 19, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Appointments are necessary and may be made by calling SwedishAmericans Heart Center at 489-4404. The screenings, which take approximately 10 minutes, involve completing a brief lifestyle questionnaire and undergoing a simple, painless test that compares blood pressure in the arms and ankles.
Those with PVD are also at increased risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). An AAA is a weakening or ballooning of the aorta, the main vessel that delivers blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Over time, the walls of the aorta become increasingly weak, and if the aneurysm grows large enough, it could burst.
During Legs For Life, SwedishAmerican will also screen for AAA those individuals with risk factors such as men older than 60 who have ever smoked and/or have a history of atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up in the blood vessels. Also at risk are men and women with a family history of AAA, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.