'Legs for Life' Sets Its Run

National cardiovascular screening program to be held at 300 hospitals and clinics

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FRIDAY, Sept. 5, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- The sixth annual nationwide cardiovascular disease screening campaign called Legs for Life will be held Sept. 7 to 13 at more than 300 hospitals and clinics across the United States.

The goal of the campaign is to educate and alert people about potentially deadly cardiovascular conditions such as stroke and peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which is the equivalent of a heart attack in the legs.

All Legs for Life sites will screen for PVD for free and provide educational material about other vascular conditions. In addition, many of the Legs for Life sites will screen for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), venous disease and blockages that can lead to a stroke.

"About a quarter of a million people have been screened since we began this program and we consistently find that one out of every four are at significant risk for PVD and other serious vascular conditions and should talk to their doctors about treatment," Dr. Harvey Wiener, 2003 national chairman of Legs for Life, says in a news release.

The program began in 10 U.S. cities in 1998. Since then, more than 249,270 people have been screened. As part of the Legs for Life screening, people fill out a lifestyle questionnaire that helps determine their risk for PVD. They also undergo a 10-minute exam where their blood pressure is taken in the arm and ankle.

Screening for AAA was added in 2001. This is the first year that screening will be done for venous disease and risk factors for stroke.

PVD (clogged leg arteries) is a potentially fatal condition that affects more than 10 million Americans, most older than 50. PVD symptoms can include pain or swelling in the legs, difficulty walking, and numbness and skin discoloration. But about half of people with PVD have no symptoms.

People at increased risk include diabetics, smokers and those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

AAA is a weakened area in the aorta, the main blood vessel that supplies blood from the heart to the rest of the body. In people with AAA, the aorta can bulge and potentially burst, which is fatal more than 80 percent of the time.

More information

Here's where you can get more information about the location of Legs for Life screening sites.

SOURCE: Society of Interventional Radiology, news release, August 2003


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