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New Guidelines Issued on Peripheral Arterial Disease

Earlier detection may prevent amputations, stroke and heart attacks

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Concerned about the increasing incidence of peripheral arterial disease in the United States, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association issued new guidelines this week for the early detection of the artery-clogging disease.

More than 12 million Americans have peripheral arterial disease, which can lead to amputations, kidney failure, stroke and other problems. Physicians should ask patients about possible peripheral arterial disease symptoms, according to the new guidelines.

"We're saying to physicians for the first time, don't wait for the patient to complain to you about symptoms that they may not appreciate as hallmark signs of poor health," Alan T. Hirsch, M.D., chairman of the writing committee, said in a statement. "Ask specific questions to define high-risk groups and initiate early therapy."

The guidelines address the clinical signs of renal artery stenosis, treatment algorithms for aneurysm, therapeutic recommendations including diet, exercise and smoking cessation, as well as questions that can uncover hidden signs of peripheral arterial disease.

The full text of the guidelines are available online at www.acc.org and www.heart.org. An executive summary will also be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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