Harvard Heart Letter

Nothing peripheral about this artery disease

Guidelines put the spotlight on the consequences of peripheral artery disease.

If ever a disease deserved a splashy new name, peripheral artery disease is it. "Peripheral" smacks of something on the sidelines. Nothing could be further from the truth. Peripheral artery disease affects at least 12 million Americans, more than heart disease and stroke combined. It kills some, maims others, and makes life disagreeable or unbearable for countless more.

Comprehensive diagnosis and treatment guidelines from a coalition of 38 major medical organizations, to be followed in mid-2006 by a high-visibility public education campaign, aim to put peripheral artery disease on everyone's radar. It's a worthwhile goal, since it likely affects most American families.

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