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More Patients Eligible for Exercise Therapy at Iredell Memorial Hospital

Hospital news | Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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.