JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs

September 4, 2001
PHONE: 410-955-1534
E-MAIL: kblum@jhmi.edu

Peripheral Artery Disease Is Underdiagnosed and Undertreated

– First Symposium on Disease to be Held Sept. 12 & 13

Only half of people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition where blood vessels in the arms and legs can become clogged with cholesterol, are appropriately diagnosed and treated, a Johns Hopkins expert says.

Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at Hopkins and president of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), says too few patients with PAD are exercising and too few physicians are advising patients with the condition to walk.

PAD affects 8 million adults, and 5 percent of people ages 50 and up. It is characterized by pain, aching or fatigue in the leg muscles. Walking is one of the most effective therapies, Stewart says.

"Patients who exercise regularly for at least three months have seen substantial increases in the distance they can walk without painful symptoms," he says.

Stewart and Alan T. Hirsch, M.D., director of the vascular medicine program at the University of Minnesota Medical School, will co-chair the first scientific symposium on PAD rehabilitation Sept. 12 and 13 in Minneapolis. About 250 health professionals will meet to discuss the most innovative treatments for this rapidly growing health problem. The meeting is sponsored by the AACVPR and the American College of Cardiology.

To interview Stewart or Hirsch, please contact me at 410-955-1534 or kblum@jhmi.edu.

For more information on peripheral artery disease, visit the Vascular Disease Foundation’s Web site at http://www.vdf.org .

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