42 million Indians suffer from Vascular disease: Report

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Mumbai, Aug 5 (UNI) Almost 4.2 crore Indians suffer from vascular problems that could require amputation of legs if not treated on time, according to a report prepared by Vascular Society of India.

According to the report, presented at a conference organised by the Society on the occasion of Vascular Awareness Day here today, lack of awareness not only among the patients, but within the medical fraternity has led to a number of amputations and disfigurement of limbs for a disease that can be easily treated in the early stages with medication and life style modification programmes.

Talking to UNI on the sidelines of the conference, city-based surgeon Dr Pankaj Patel said peripheral vascular disease mostly affects the legs symptomized by pain in the calves while walking.

This can progress to the toes even at rest and can result in gangrene of the toes and foot.

The main cause is blocked arteries with smokers, diabetics and those over 50 years of age running a higher risk. It is well established now that decreased blood flow in the legs is the biggest indicator of future heart attacks and strokes. A patient who has blocked arteries of the leg, indicates 60 -70 per cent chance of diffuse vascular disease, he said.

Dr Patel said though the exact magnitude of peripheral arterial disease of the legs is not known, awareness among high risk groups and the general population could lower chances of future complications like heart attacks and strokes. Change of lifestyle and wearing of compression stockings by women during pregnancy can reduce the chances, he said.

Diagnosing and treatment of the disease is best undertaken by a vascular surgeon, as many doctors are also not qualified to treat the disease. Most limbs can be saved even in a serious case of vascular disease with low complication rate, if treated by a good vascular surgeon, Dr Patel added.


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