In U.S., Only One in Four Aware of Peripheral Arterial Disease

More education needed to reduce national cardiovascular disease burden

MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The risks associated with peripheral arterial disease are poorly understood by the general public, and only one in four people over age 50 report that they've heard of the condition, according to a survey in the Sept. 18 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Alan T. Hirsch, M.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues conducted a telephone-based survey of 2,501 adults over 50 years of age to find out about their knowledge of peripheral arterial disease and its impact on atherosclerosis risk, as well as other cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular diseases.

Only 25 percent of respondents were aware of peripheral arterial disease, and even in this sub-group they had a scanty understanding of the disease. Half did not know that the risk of developing peripheral arterial disease increased by 50 percent among smokers and diabetes patients, and less than a quarter knew that the disease was a risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke. Only 14 percent said they knew peripheral arterial disease could lead to amputation.

"For the national cardiovascular disease burden to be reduced, public peripheral arterial disease knowledge could be improved by national peripheral arterial disease public education programs designed to reduce critical knowledge gaps," the authors conclude.

Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis Partnership and Cordis Endovascular provided unrestricted educational grants for the study.

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