9/12/2013 10:16:00 AM Free screening available for people with leg pain
McLeod Health will conduct free risk assessment screenings for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Leg Pain at the McLeod Health & Fitness Center on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PAD affects 10 million Americans, and is a warning sign of potential heart attack, stroke or a life-threatening aneurysm. PAD is caused by blocked blood flow in the arteries of the legs. It typically affects people over age 50, and starts so quietly that many people think they are simply experiencing the natural effects of aging. “Although many people know that chest pain and angina are signs of heart attack, most do not know that leg pain while walking or exercising can be not only a sign of clogged arteries in the legs but also in other parts of the body,” said Dr. Ganesha Perera, Pee Dee Vascular Associates. “If the arteries in your legs are clogged, you’re at increased risk of suffering a heart attack, an aneurysm or stroke.” “By offering this free screening we seek to identify PAD in its earliest states, when it can typically be treated through lifestyle changes or medications,” said Robert Smith, Director of the McLeod Vascular Laboratory.
“As PAD progresses to its most advanced stages, arteries become so clogged and narrow blood is prevented from flowing to the limbs.” The most common sign of PAD is pain or cramping while walking that subsides when the person rests. Studies have shown that people who experience this symptom, which is called intermittent claudication (IC), are at a two to three times greater risk of cardiovascular death when compared to individuals of the same age who do not have the disease. Other studies have shown that more than one of four people with lower extremity arterial disease also has coronary heart disease; and one of ten has cerebrovascular disease, putting them at increased risk of suffering a stroke. Other signs of PAD include swelling, numbness, skin discoloration and sores that don’t heal. Individuals, who smoke or formerly smoked, have diabetes, or elevated blood pressure or cholesterol levels are at increased risk. Free blood pressure screenings will also be offered that morning. In addition, fingerstick cholesterol screenings will be available for $20. Fasting is recommended. The McLeod Health & Fitness Center is located at 2437 Willwood Drive in Florence.