Archive for Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vascular disease treatable if diagnosed

Doctor’s orders: Start walking, stop smoking

January 24, 2010


Get checked at healthy hearts fair

The annual Healthy Hearts Fair will be from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 13 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine.

The event focuses on cardiovascular disease prevention.

Free screenings include body mass index, blood pressure, and heart attack and stroke risk appraisal.

A full cholesterol screening will be offered for $25, unless people register for the screening by Feb. 5. Then it will be $20.

For more information, call 749-5800 or visit

Dr. Tapas “Joey” Ghose said he would rather give a diagnosis of breast cancer than peripheral vascular disease because chances are the patient can live longer.

“There is so much more mortality — meaning the quality of life and the average years of life is very much diminished once you get a diagnosis,” he said. “It’s such a damaging diagnosis, such a damaging disease, and yet it goes untreated and unknown to the population.”

The new Lawrence cardiologist hopes to treat people before they get to that stage by raising awareness.

He said one in three adults over age 65 will have the disease.

Ghose was keynote speaker Thursday night during the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association’s annual meeting.

The association’s Hearts of Gold Ball this May will benefit cardiovascular services at LMH, 325 Maine.

So, what is peripheral vascular disease?

It refers to any disease affecting blood vessels outside the heart and brain. It’s often a narrowing of vessels that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach or kidneys. The classic symptom is crampy leg pain while walking.

Based on research from the American Vascular Association, LMH estimates about 22,000 people in Douglas County and surrounding areas could have some form of vascular disease.

Nationwide, about 10 million people have peripheral vascular disease, according to WebMD.

About half of people with peripheral vascular disease do not have symptoms. Of those who do, another half do not tell their health care providers. Many people seem to think that this is a normal part of aging and that nothing can be done.

Ghose said the disease can be treated with exercise programs, medicines and surgery.

If the disease is left untreated, people can develop permanent numbness or aching in legs or feet, and face a higher risk of amputation. People with the disease are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Ghose’s advice: Stop smoking. Start walking.

Peripheral vascular disease is more common in smokers, and the combination of diabetes and smoking almost always results in more severe disease.

Ghose, of Cardiovascular Specialists, said there’s a national movement to raise awareness of the disease, and he plans to do his part. For example, the hospital will be offering free screenings at its annual Healthy Hearts Fair in February. It also plans to participate in National Vascular Disease Awareness Month in September.

“We’ve neglected in large part the vascular aspect of cardiovascular medicine,” he said.


Robert Rauktis 8 years, 4 months ago

Let's get this straight, you only have to amend habits so people don't overeat, don't smoke, and they exercise. This is NEW!! I'm sure it will be absorbed by this population.

Darwin had it right. These people are self eliminating and need a mother, not an MD's advice.

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