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WomenHeart and P.A.D. Coalition Join Forces to Educate Women about Peripheral Arterial Disease
Date:9/9/2009

Leg Cramps Can be Red Flag for Heart Disease

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As many as 4.5 million American women have a common and dangerous vascular disease that few have ever heard of -- peripheral arterial disease. September is Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.) Awareness Month, and the P.A.D. Coalition and WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease have launched a national effort to inform Americans about the impact of P.A.D. on women.

P.A.D. occurs when arteries in the legs become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits, reducing blood flow to the legs. This can result in leg muscle pain when walking, disability, amputation, and poor quality of life. Blocked arteries found in people with P.A.D. can be a red flag that other arteries, including those in the heart and brain, may also be blocked -- increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

A recent study conducted by the P.A.D. Coalition found that only 28 percent of American women are aware of P.A.D. and those that expressed familiarity with the disease actually knew very little about the diseases risk factors and potential consequences.

"Many women have leg muscle pain when walking and attribute it to just getting older," stated Marge Lovell, RN, Chair, P.A.D. Coalition and clinical trials nurse at the London Health Sciences and Centre in London, Ontario. "We want women to listen to their bodies and understand that this leg discomfort can be a sign of a serious, life-threatening disease."

Everyone over age 50 is at risk for P.A.D. Risk increases if a person:

  • Smokes, or used to smoke
  • Has diabetes
  • Has high blood pressure
  • Has abnormal blood cholesterol
  • Is African American
  • Has a personal history of coronary heart disease
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SOURCE WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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