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More than 100 attend ECU vascular screening
Pamela Joyner of the division of vascular surgery at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU conducts a vascular screening on Bobby Carlyle of Dover. Photo by Cliff Hollis
(Sept. 24, 2007)
Surgeons from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University checked 103 people for vascular diseases during a screening event Sept. 18.
Vascular disease, specifically, peripheral arterial disease, is among the leading causes of death in the United States yet generally goes unnoticed until a catastrophic event occurs, such as a stroke or aneurysm rupture.
"The most important PAD health improvement that we can perform is identifying the patients with PAD before they become symptomatic," said Dr. William Bogey, ECU professor of surgery. "By identifying these patients, we can be sure they understand the most important aspect of treatment is making sure that their risk factors for PAD are well-controlled."
According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, vascular disease outside the heart kills or disables countless Americans every year despite widely available non-invasive procedures to detect and treat its most common forms: carotid artery disease, peripheral arterial disease and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Carotid artery disease leads to strokes, the third-leading cause of death in the United States with nearly 157,000 people dying annually. A large proportion of strokes are caused by plaque in the carotid arteries.
Peripheral arterial disease affects one in every 20 Americans over the age of 50. People with PAD have five times more risk of a blood vessel blockage and a mortality rate two-to-three times greater than those without PAD.
Preventive measures include making sure patients stop smoking, control their high blood pressure, diabetes and their cholesterol, get daily exercise and follow a low-cholesterol diet. Patients may also be treated with anticholesterol medication. Recent research has shown that in addition to lowering cholesterol, these agents have a beneficial effect on stabilizing the PAD plaque, preventing it from progressing and causing consequences such as a stroke or heart attack, Bogey said.
More than 15,000 Americans die each year from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. More than 1 million people are believed to be living with undiagnosed AAA, and at least 95 percent of these can be successfully treated if detected before rupture, according to the society.