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HOUSTON, TX (March24,
It's a silent and potentially fatal disease disguised as arthritis or
old age. It flies under the scrutiny radar of many, including its
victims and healthcare practitioners. No more. It's time for the medical
community and public health officials to shine a bright light on
peripheral arterial disease.
If the name doesn't ring a bell, you're not alone. Peripheral
arterial disease is a lower-limb condition that affects more than 200
million people globally - a number six times greater than the worldwide
population living with HIV. More than 10 million Americans live with
peripheral arterial disease - many unknowingly. Left undiagnosed or
untreated, the condition can cause serious complications such as
gangrene, loss of limb and even death. As a practicing Houston
cardiologist with a keen interest in vascular diseases, I have witnessed
over the last two decades an explosion of very advanced, undiagnosed
cases of peripheral arterial disease. In its most advanced stage, the
condition manifests as critical limb ischemia, or severe artery
blockages. This, unfortunately, can lead to amputation, and devastating
psychosocial and financial consequences for patients and their families.
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