Black Amputation Rates Are High. Knowing Your Risk Can Lower It.


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By Jennifer Porter Gore, Word in Black

Everyone knows diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking are health hazards, but few know they could lead to peripheral artery disease.

People with high blood pressure, as well as diabetics and former smokers, are all at risk for peripheral artery disease, a vascular disorder that often leads to amputation (Credit: ProStock Studios-Getty Images).

It’s a common cardiovascular disease that leads to some 400 amputations performed each day in the United States. It is a serious medical condition, prevalent in the Black community, that can also lead to stroke, heart attacks and, in some cases, death.

Yet a recent survey has found that while millions of Americans have cardiovascular disease or diabetes, very few are aware of peripheral artery disease, and even fewer have ever had a discussion about it with a medical professional.

PAD causes blockage in the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs and affects more than 12 million Americans. Leading risk factors for PAD are the common chronic health conditions that disproportionately impact underserved communities. 

“These new insights are particularly concerning among those most at risk and come at a time when a staggering 1 in 20 Americans over 50 years of age experience PAD,” said Dr. George D. Dangas, president of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions, and a professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

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