You may brush off pains and cramps when you walk or exercise as a normal
part of aging, but those aches could be signs of a serious condition.
Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, affects one in 20 adults over 50 years
old. People with PAD typically have an elevated risk of heart attack and
stroke and the condition can lead to gangrene and limb amputation. Now
Iredell Health System has plans to offer an exercise-based treatment,
proven to reduce symptoms and the risk of complications.
Supervised Exercise Therapy (SET) is more cost effective and less invasive
than other treatments for PAD. The SET program at Iredell Health System’s
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center will include at least 36 sessions
of therapeutic exercise training. The program will also include education,
nutritional counseling and tobacco cessation services. The Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid recently approved Medicare coverage for SET as a
treatment for PAD.
“One main goal for our patients will be to increase their walking
distance and to help them improve their overall health and quality of
life,” said Lisa Warren, manager of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation
at Iredell Memorial Hospital. “This therapy can be life-changing.
We are excited that Medicare will now make SET more widely available for
people suffering with peripheral artery disease.”
PAD is caused by a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. The symptoms
include pain and cramps in the legs and lower body, which often happen
during walking, exercising or climbing stairs. PAD can limit a person’s
ability to work, walk and participate in hobbies. Risk factors include
aging, abnormal cholesterol levels, diabetes, hypertension and smoking
or exposure to secondhand smoke.
Classes at the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center at Iredell Memorial
Hospital for SET will begin in August. A physician referral is necessary
for enrollment in SET for Peripheral Artery Disease. For more information,
call the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center at 704-878-4558.