• Blocked Arteries in Legs Increase Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke

    Rome Memorial Hospital’s Regional Center for Wound Care
    recognizes September as Peripheral Arterial Disease Awareness Month

    Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) develops when arteries become completely or partially clogged with plaque deposits that limit blood flow to the legs. Just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or even death. Artherosclerosis (plaque buildup) in the legs does not always cause symptoms, so many people can have PAD and not know it. People who do experience symptoms, such as pain or cramping in the legs, often do not report them, believing they are a natural part of aging or due to another cause. PAD affects more than 12 million people in the United States which is why September is recognized as PAD Awareness Month.
    Peripheral arterial disease increases in prevalence with age. One in every eight Americans older than 60 years of age have PAD. Common risk factors include high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, inactivity, atherosclerosis and age. As many as six million people with diabetes have PAD, making it one of the primary co-morbidities of diabetes.
    There are many possible side effects of atherosclerosis in the lower extremities, including claudication, non-healing leg ulcers and critical limb ischemia. Chronic toe and foot sores are common in people with PAD, as are cramping, numbness, weakness or heaviness in the leg muscles. Many patients with PAD do not experience symptoms.
    "While some with PAD do not experience symptoms, people should be aware of certain factors that put them more at risk," explained Rome Memorial Hospital’s Regional Center for Wound Care Clinical Director Melissa Ruddy, RN. "Smokers are four times at greater risk, African Americans are more than twice as likely to have PAD, and one in every three people over the age of 50 with diabetes is likely to have the disease."
    “We encourage physicians to look for signs of PAD in their high-risk patients and for patients with leg pain to check their feet for signs of PAD, and see a doctor for proper diagnosis and care,” Melissa explained.

    The Wound Center’s team of professionals recommends the following action steps to manage PAD:
    • Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, correcting blood pressure and cholesterol numbers
    o Smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for the development of PAD. Managing these conditions can help improve blood circulation.
    • Develop healthy eating habits and an exercise plan
    o Exercising can help increase the circulation and reduce pain in the lower extremities. Walking, hiking and bike riding are good exercise options. A personal trainer can help tailor a custom workout plan that best fits a person’s needs.
    • Medications
    o Always consult with a physician about which medications may help PAD and if they are needed.
    • Special procedures and surgeries
    o In some severe cases of PAD, surgery may be needed to open arteries that have narrowed. Consult with a physician to see if surgery is a necessary treatment.
    To speak with Melissa or for more information about the Regional Center for Wound Care and treatment options available, call 315.338.7540.
    Rome Memorial Hospital’s Regional Center for Wound Care has been named a Center of Distinction by Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services, for superior commitment to excellence for their patients and hospital partner. The center is located at 267 Hill Road in the Griffiss Professional Complex, Griffiss Business and Technology Park, Rome.

    Take Action to Protect Your Good Health

    o Come to the next free diabetes education class at Rome Memorial Hospital on Monday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m. Participants meet in the hospital lobby. Patient and Staff Educator Mary Rose Spellicy, RN teaches how to take charge of your diabetes with exercise, healthy eating, medication, measuring blood sugar, and protecting your feet and eyes. Call the hospital’s Education Department at 315.338.7143 for more information.

    o Take advantage of Rome Memorial Hospital’s free blood pressure screenings September 27th and October 25th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the hospital’s Retail Pharmacy. The pharmacy is conveniently located on the ground floor just inside the Bartlett Wing entrance, off East Oak Street.

    o Join Rome Memorial Hospital’s free smoking cessation course by calling the Education Department at 315.338.7143 by Oct. 1. The three-week series runs Wednesday Oct. 3rd, 10th and 17th from 5 – 6:30 p.m. in the hospital’s classroom. The program is free and those completing all three classes will be rewarded with a $20 grocery gift card. For additional smoking cessation information, contact the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at
    866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487), www.nysmokefree.com or visit www.smokefree.gov.

    About Rome Memorial Hospital
    Rome Memorial Hospital, Inc., (RMH) Rome Memorial Hospital is a non-profit health care system based in Rome, N.Y., providing services to patients throughout Central New York. From primary care to long-term care, Rome Memorial Hospital delivers quality, compassionate medical care for every stage of life. With its specialized Senior Behavioral Health Unit and Residential Health Care Facility, the hospital has become recognized as a valuable resource for senior services. Ranked among the top 20 percent of skilled nursing facilities for four consecutive years, the hospital has earned special recognition as a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) facility for providing quality care for older adult patients. Rome Memorial Hospital is an affiliate of St. Joseph’s Health and an affiliated clinical site of New York Medical College.