Interventional Radiologists Recommend That Seniors, African-Americans, Diabetics Take Online Quiz, Get Screened If Needed
As recent medical studies continue to highlight the seriousness of peripheral arterial disease (or PAD) and its association with heart attack, stroke and early mortality, the Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation recommends that older Americans, smokers and diabetics take its free, online self-assessment quiz. This simple quiz -- along with appropriate diagnosis and treatment -- can prevent PAD from getting worse and help reduce risk of heart disease, stroke and early death.
PAD, which affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States, occurs when plaque accumulates in arteries that supply blood to areas of the body other than the heart and brain. Since plaque blocks the smaller leg arteries first, PAD is considered a red flag for several life-threatening vascular diseases, such as heart attack (the number one killer in this country) and stroke; it can also result in the loss of limb(s). Symptoms -- such as leg pain while walking, numbness and tingling in the lower legs and feet, coldness in the lower legs and feet, or ulcers or sores on the legs or feet that don't heal -- could be PAD warning signs. The disease's progression results in death for about one-third of patients.
Seniors may typically dismiss warning symptoms as signs of getting older; however, just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs mean that one could be at risk for heart attack or stroke. African-Americans are twice as likely to develop PAD. And, individuals with diabetes are especially susceptible to PAD because diabetes affects every vascular bed in the body and increases the risk for accelerated formation of plaque build-up in the lining of the arteries -- placing 18.2 million Americans at risk.
The online quiz at SIRF's Legs for Life(R) Web site (www.legsforlife.org) helps assess health, family and lifestyle risks for PAD. The higher one's score, the more important it is for that individual to discuss the quiz's results with his or her doctor.