Media Outreach Materials
Customizable Newsletter Article
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Back to Media Outreach Materials
You may choose to use the entire sample article listed below, or select paragraphs and sections that are most relevant to your publication. Consider sending articles to local employers for inclusion in an employee newsletter, to hospitals or other health care facilities, and to any other community partners with whom you work.
[Insert anecdotal story about a local patient with P.A.D., if available. For example, you may want to interview a few local patients with P.A.D. to find a compelling personal story. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- How did they find out they have P.A.D.?
- What risk factors (if any) did they have?
- What course of treatment did they take?
- Have they been able to resume normal activities since being diagnosed and treated?
You can use this information as a short lead-in to the newsletter article. A personal story can help illustrate how the disease can impact one's life. It can also explain that P.A.D. is treatable, and if diagnosed in time, those with P.A.D. can continue to lead healthy and productive lives. Personal experiences can also help localize the story, making it very real for those reading it.]
In the United States, more than eight million Americans suffer from peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.)—hardening of the arteries (also known as "atherosclerosis") in the limbs, often the legs. P.A.D. is caused by the same risk factors that lead to heart disease. Those at risk include anyone over the age of 50, especially African Americans; those who smoke or have smoked; and those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, or a personal or family history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke. P.A.D. is a common and treatable disease that is on the rise among midlife and older Americans. However, it is still largely unknown, often unrecognized, and regarded by many as an inevitable consequence of aging.
[Insert Organization name] is working with Stay in Circulation, the first national public awareness program to help Americans learn about P.A.D., including how to reduce their risk, and the steps they can take to stay in circulation. [Insert Organization name] is getting involved in the campaign through a variety of activities including [insert specific activity/event description, if appropriate.] in an effort to help our community take steps to learn about P.A.D. to stay active and healthy.
P.A.D. is a serious disease. [Call out or highlight the following sentence] One in 20 Americans over the age of 50 has P.A.D. It occurs when arteries in the legs become clogged with fatty deposits, or plaque. The buildup causes the arteries to harden, a condition known as atherosclerosis. When the arteries in the legs are hardened and clogged, blood flow to the legs and feet is reduced. P.A.D. is commonly seen in the arteries in the legs, but it can affect other arteries outside the heart, including those that lead to the brain, arms, kidneys, and stomach.
[If space permits, highlight the list of risk factors in a text box.]
You are at risk for P.A.D. if you:
- Are over the age of 50
- Smoke or have smoked
- Have diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high blood cholesterol
- Have a personal or family history of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke
- Are African American.
People under the age of 50 with diabetes and one other cardiovascular risk factor are also at risk.
[Call out or highlight the following sentences.] It is important to know that P.A.D. does not always present symptoms. In fact, many of those with P.A.D. do not experience obvious symptoms. For some people, the first sign of P.A.D. is "claudication," which can feel like fatigue, heaviness, tiredness, cramping, or pain in the leg muscles. This discomfort occurs during activity such as walking and promptly goes away at rest. Many times, people think this pain is just a natural part of aging and do not tell their health care providers. However, leg discomfort can be a sign that the leg arteries are already clogged. Symptoms of more severe cases of P.A.D. include foot or toe pain at rest that often disturbs sleep.
Lifestyle changes that may include taking medications may lower the risk of developing P.A.D. and other vascular diseases. Lifestyle changes have the added benefit of improving your overall health and lowering your risk for many other diseases.
Taking these steps can help lower your risk for P.A.D.:
- Do not smoke, or if you do, ask your health care provider to help you come up with an immediate plan to quit.
- If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high blood cholesterol, talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage and improve your condition.
- Maintain a healthy weight, make wise food choices, and get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. Talk to your health care provider about the best diet and exercise plan for you. Most health care providers will recommend a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Stay in Circulation: Take Steps to Learn About P.A.D. is a national awareness campaign to increase public and health care provider awareness about peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) and its association with other cardiovascular diseases. The campaign is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute—part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—in cooperation with the P.A.D. Coalition, an alliance of national organizations and professional societies united to improve the health and health care of people with P.A.D. For more information, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/pad.
To learn more about P.A.D. and find out what you can do to stay in circulation, come to [Insert details about activity/event.]. Ask your health care provider to check your risk for P.A.D. and take action today to lower it. Learning about P.A.D. can help you stay active and continue enjoying life. Visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/pad for more information.