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Vascular Disease Awareness Week

A special information day is being held at York Hospital in a bid to save lives and limbs by raising awareness of vascular disease, a condition that affects four million people a year in the UK with 200,000 preventable deaths.

The event, on Monday 19 March, launches Vascular Disease Awareness Week and gives people the opportunity to find out if they are at risk by offering free blood pressure and blood sugar testing and advice from vascular specialists.

Nicola Wilson, vascular nurse practitioner, said: "Vascular disease can affect anyone at anytime and is as widespread as both cancer and heart disease. It accounts for 40 percent of deaths in the UK.

"People can be affected in different ways - pain when walking, cold hands and feet, aneurysm or stroke. The condition can be hereditary but there are some clear risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, diet and weight."

Vascular disease affects a wide range of people particularly those with diabetes and the elderly.

Nicola continued: "One of the most common forms is peripheral vascular disease which is more commonly known as hardening of the arteries. This affects the legs and can cause pain, ulceration and amputation. Because many of the nine percent of the population who suffer with it are not aware of the disease, this illness can be left untreated and the effects are irreversible.

"The good news is that the disease can be treated medically and surgically. Prompt treatment makes a huge difference, for example people with symptoms of a mini stroke can have surgery on the arteries in the neck to help prevent them having a major stroke.

"Making lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, exercise, and not smoking are the biggest priority in preventing and controlling this disease."

Anyone worried that they are at risk of vascular disease can visit the information stand at the hospital. Information is also available online from the Circulation Foundation, a charity which champions the prevention and treatment of all vascular diseases where a risk checker tool is available on their website www.circulationfoundation.org

15 March 2012

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