September marks a significant month for cardiovascular health awareness in the United States – it's National Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month. As we embark on this month-long initiative to raise awareness about PAD, a silent yet potentially devastating cardiovascular threat, it is crucial to understand the impact it has on millions of Americans. Save Legs. Change Lives.™, a dedicated initiative committed to PAD awareness, is taking the lead in spreading the word.
Peripheral Artery Disease, commonly referred to as PAD, is a condition characterized by the narrowing of arteries that supply blood to the limbs, primarily the legs. This narrowing is often caused by the buildup of fatty deposits or plaque in the arteries, resulting in reduced blood flow to the affected areas. While PAD may initially go unnoticed due to its subtle symptoms, it can lead to severe complications if left untreated.
PAD is not just a health concern; it's a leading cause of amputations in the United States. This alarming statistic sheds light on the urgency of PAD awareness and early detection. What's even more concerning is that some communities are disproportionately affected by PAD and its consequences.
Research has revealed a stark reality – Black Americans are up to four times more likely than other Americans to experience PAD-related amputations. These disparities are deeply rooted in a range of factors, including limited access to healthcare, socioeconomic disparities, and a higher prevalence of risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension. As a result, communities with a majority of Black residents often bear the brunt of high amputation rates.
From: Fanaroff AC, Yang L, Nathan AS, et al. Geographic extremity amputation rates in metropolitan areas. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021; 10(17):10:e021456 https://www.ahajournals.org/dio/10.1161/JAHA.121.021456
Atlanta, a vibrant city known for its diversity, is no exception to these disparities. Figure 1 illustrates the concerning prevalence of PAD-related amputations in the city, emphasizing the need for targeted efforts to address this issue.
In an effort to combat these disparities and raise awareness about PAD, Save Legs. Change Lives.™ has organized a series of free education and screening events in Atlanta. These events will take place from Thursday, September 21st to Saturday, September 23rd, providing an opportunity for Atlantans to learn more about PAD and its significance.
National Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month is an opportunity to shed light on a silent cardiovascular threat that affects millions of Americans, particularly in communities facing disparities. Save Legs. Change Lives.™'s initiative in Atlanta serves as a beacon of hope, aiming to educate, screen, and ultimately, reduce the impact of PAD. Through the efforts of dedicated individuals and organizations, we can strive for a future where PAD is detected early, treated effectively, and amputations become a thing of the past. Together, we can truly "Save Legs and Change Lives."