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Press Room : Press Releases

Press Room : Press Releases

For Immediate Release — February 17, 2003

Seventeen National Organizations Meet on Public Education of Peripheral Arterial Disease

Denver, CO - The Vascular Disease Foundation and sixteen other national professional vascular societies and health organizations including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, met on January 15-16, 2003, in Bethesda, Maryland, to hold a unique strategy meeting. This meeting was a milestone to begin the creation of a unified, long-term national effort to offer the American public improved access to educational information on peripheral arterial disease or PAD. The first day of this 2-day meeting was a workshop created by the NHLBI on Developing a Public Awareness Campaign.

PAD is a common disease that is caused by blocked arteries of the legs. The build-up of plaque is usually a result of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, the same illness that leads to heart attack caused by blocked arteries of the heart. PAD affects 8-12 million Americans and 1 in 5 people over the age of 70 has the disease. Advanced age, smoking, high blood cholesterol and diabetes are risk factors of PAD.  Many people with PAD have pain or fatigue in the calf muscles when walking, a symptom called claudication. PAD increases the risk of death from heart attack or stroke. Early diagnosis, improving risk factors and early treatment can result in slowing the progression of the disease, preventing amputation, and decreasing the chance of a heart attack or stroke. Cardiovascular diseases are American's No. 1 killer. 

This meeting provided an opportunity for a coalition of healthcare professionals to begin to create consensus regarding the science-based messages that should be offered to the public – both those “at risk” for developing PAD and those already affected by the disease.  “Over many years, the entire vascular health professional community has felt it imperative that the public be provided access to critical information about PAD. We have now begun a process in which many professional and public organizations can join forces to offer a common message to the American public to prevent and treat PAD and its cardiovascular manifestations,” said Alan T. Hirsch, MD, Vascular Disease Foundation’s president.

The meeting addressed strategies for developing a cohesive set of educational messages and was a first step toward creation of an effective public awareness campaign.    This was the first strategic meeting on PAD public awareness to include such a wide group of health organizations. In addition to the Vascular Disease Foundation, organizations that participated included the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, American Association for Vascular Surgery, American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Podiatric Medical Association, The American Radiological Nurses Association, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society, The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, The Society of Interventional Radiology, The Society for Vascular Medicine and Biology, The Society for Vascular Nursing, The Society for Vascular Surgery, and The Society for Vascular Ultrasound.

To view a written summary of this meeting click here (PDF).

About the Vascular Disease Foundation:

The Vascular Disease Foundation is a nonprofit, public educational organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and management of vascular diseases.  Its outstanding board of directors includes physicians, nurses, vascular sonographers, rehabilitation professionals, and clinical researchers who have been on the forefront of fighting vascular diseases for many years.

For more information on VDF, or on vascular diseases, call 1-866-723-4636 or visit www.vdf.org.