National effort to detect life-threatening non-cardiac vascular diseases

The University of Arizona Medical Center for the first time will be part of a national effort to detect life-threatening non-cardiac vascular diseases. UMC is partnering with the American Vascular Association to offer free screenings for people at high risk: 60 years or older with a history of hypertension, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, or known cardiovascular disease.

The Vascular Clinic, Fourth Floor, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., is hosting the screening program Friday, May 14, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The screening is being held in conjunction with about 200 other health centers nationwide to detect blocked arteries and aortic aneurysms.

Almost everyone knows about heart disease, but few people understand the seriousness of major non-cardiac vascular diseases. Vascular disease outside the heart, including stroke, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), carotid artery disease and aortic aneurysms, causes as much death and disability as heart disease and more than any cancer.

"The screenings use ultrasound and other technology designed to find vascular disease before it becomes a major problem," says Dr. Joseph Mills, professor and chief of vascular surgery at the University of Arizona. "Sudden death can occur if certain vascular conditions are not found and properly treated. The good news is that most of these conditions can be discovered by using simple, painless, non-invasive tests that take just minutes to complete."

Tests will include a carotid artery scan to look for blockages, an abdominal ultrasound to detect aortic aneurysms, and non-invasive pressure tests to detect peripheral artery disease.

The combination of all three tests, a blood pressure measurement, and recording of the heart rhythm takes about 15 minutes. Results of the non-invasive testing will be given immediately following the screening.

AVA estimates that 20 to 30 million Americans are at risk for various vascular diseases. "A lot of people may have an aneurysm and not know it until it is too late. These simple tests can save your life," says Dr. Mills. http://www.azumc.com/

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