SAN ANTONIO — Hispanic Heritage Month is meant to be a time to celebrate Hispanic history and culture. This month is the perfect time to focus on the health of Hispanics, so lives can be lengthened.
It is also National Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month. Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is a blockage of the arteries which reduces blood flow to the arms and legs, and is a huge problem here in South Texas, especially among Hispanics.
Dr. Milad Mohammadi, a vascular surgeon with Peripheral Vascular Associates within the Baptist Health Care System told us, "We have about twice as much diabetes prevalence as the rest of the country. Diabetes hardens the arteries and causes the blockage within the artery as well and can cause other problems that can lead to pain, amputation, pain with walking and other problems."
Some of the risk factors for PAD include smoking, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and a family history of the disease. Dr. Mohammadi added, "Patients that have family members who have had procedures to open up their arteries, whether it's in their heart, in their legs, their carotid arteries, which delivers blood to the brain, will have a higher chance of developing peripheral artery disease."
But there are ways to prevent it, by getting screened.
Dr. Mohammad said, "Evaluate them first with a physical exam, then these simple, painless studies, such as these ultrasound studies and blood pressure cuff studies to be able to evaluate for peripheral artery disease. We start out with these screening studies to see if there are any blockages that are significant."
Hispanics are more prone to get PAD, heart disease, and diabetes because of poor diet and lifestyle. But by talking to your doctor, and keeping up with your general health, amputations can be avoided.
Dr. Mohammadi told us, "PAD screening and surveillance will help save limbs and lives here at PVA, alongside our colleagues at Baptist Health Systems, where our goal is to increase the awareness and education in the community here in South Texas."
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