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UNC Hospitals “Legs for Life®” Free Screenings – Saturday, September 21 from 9:00am-1:00pm

September 21, 2013 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

| Free

Free screenings for vascular diseases will be held at UNC Hospitals in September as part of the Legs for Life® campaign, a national screening program designed to raise awareness of the dangers of vascular disease.

Physicians and nurses from the UNC Center for Heart and Vascular Care will provide free screenings for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) on Saturday, September 21, from 9:00am to 1:00pm in the Procedural Recovery Unit (PRU) on the second floor of UNC Memorial Hospital.

To register for a free screening for PAD and/or AAA at UNC Hospitals, or to learn more, call the UNC Center for Heart and Vascular Care at (919) 966-6646 or email Legs4Life@unch.unc.edu.

PAD affects about 10 million people in the United States, but many people do not know they have the disease.  PAD is a sign of arteriosclerosis (clogged blood vessels) in the leg.  Arteriosclerosis is the primary cause of heart attack, the number one cause of death in the United States.

In the early stages, there may be no symptoms.  People may experience pain in the leg while walking that eases when they are at rest.  Other symptoms may include swelling or numbness in the leg or skin discoloration.  Those at highest risk for PAD include individuals age 50 and over who have a family history of cardiovascular disease and/or have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or are smokers, and people who are overweight and/or lead an inactive lifestyle.

“The screening for peripheral arterial disease is easy and painless, using a test called the ankle brachial index to compare blood pressure in a patient’s arms and ankles,” says Kyung Kim, MD, Assistant Professor, UNC Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

“Treatment options for PAD range from simple lifestyle changes or medical therapy, to more advanced options like angioplasty.”

AAA affects as many as five to seven percent of people over the age of 60 and is caused by a weakened area in the aorta, the main vessel that supplies blood from the heart to the rest of the body.  When blood flows through the aorta, the weakened area bulges like a balloon, and if it grows large enough, there is a danger that it will burst.

Accounting for more than 15,000 deaths each year, the incidence of AAA has tripled in the United States in the past 30 years, probably due to aging in the population.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are often called a “silent killer,” as patients often have no symptoms until their aneurysm bursts.  Fifty percent of all patients with a ruptured aneurysm die from the condition, which is why screening is crucial for people at highest risk.

People who are at highest risk for AAA include males over the age of 60 with a history of tobacco use and/or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and males and females who have a family history of AAA.

“Screening people with high risk factors is the best way to find an aortic aneurysm,” says Mark Farber, MD, Director, UNC Aortic Disease Management and Professor, Department of Surgery and Radiology. 

 “During the screening, we will examine the patient’s family history, provide an ultrasound if necessary, and then discuss the next steps for follow-up care with the patient’s primary care physician.”

 To register for a free screening for PAD and/or AAA at UNC Hospitals, or to learn more, call the UNC Center for Heart and Vascular Care at (919) 966-6646 or email Legs4Life@unch.unc.edu.

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September 21, 2013
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
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