Doctors take ACTION on PVD

UAE doctors are campaigning for increased awareness of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), amid fears the condition is going untreated.

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By  Joanne Bladd Published  July 10, 2006

UAE doctors are campaigning for increased awareness of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), amid fears the condition is going untreated. Speaking at the launch of the Atherosclerosis Circulation Training and Information Network (ACTION), Dr Ahmed Hassoun, consultant physician and endocrinologist, Zayed Military Hospital, told delegates: “PVD is currently under diagnosed and under treated in the UAE and throughout the region, as the level of awareness and detection is low compared to other conditions. “The aim is to address and improve diagnosis and treatment, providing patients with a significantly higher chance of survival and a better quality of life.” PVD is caused by narrowing of the arteries, through atheroma. It is a risk marker for coronary disease, cerebrovascular disease, aneurysmal disease, hypertension, and other conditions. The most common symptom of PVD is intermittent claudication, caused by narrowing of the femoral artery. However, because PVD is largely asymptomatic in its early stages, it can go undetected until reaching more advanced stages. Dr Talib Majwal, consultant cardiologist and director of interventional cardiology department at Dubai Hospital, said, “Unfortunately, many people with the early symptoms of PVD, especially pain when walking, assume that this is just part of the ageing process, and do not seek medical attention until they become severely debilitated. “At the same time, physicians may overlook PVD because it is often asymptomatic and patients do not self-refer with ‘aching legs’.” The diabetic population is particularly at risk, added Dr Abdulrazzaq Ali Al Madani, consultant physician and endocrinologist, Dubai Hospital. “PVD is common among people with diabetes. It is estimated that 30 – 50% of patients with diabetes have PVD and the rate of major limb amputation is four times higher in PVD patients with diabetes. “The correlation between diabetes and PVD is due to complications of the disease that may cause damage to the large and small blood vessels of the legs and feet. With diabetes levels continuing to rise in the UAE, raising awareness on the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of PVD has become critical.” Screening, for PVD can be carried out in general practice using the ankle brachial index (ABI) test. The ABI helps define the severity of the condition and successfully screens for hemodynamically significant disease. It is recommended that all patients being evaluated for peripheral vascular disease should have their ABI measured. The condition can be effectively treated with lifestyle therapy, such as smoking cessation, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Medication is often advised, but surgery is only required in a small number of cases. Non-surgical procedures, such as angioplasty and stent implantation, are also helpful for more severe cases.

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