Kenyans have been advised to seek early medical screening and check-ups for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) due to the increasing number of lifestyle diseases that lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Speaking during the Resolution Insurance Wellness Summit today, Resolution Insurance Managing Director Kenya Alice Mwai stated that PAD incidence is on the rise in Kenya and this is consistent with the increased incidence of non-communicable diseases.
“We believe prevention through screening and awareness for our corporate clients is key and a major objective for Resolution Insurance,” she said.
According to Dr. Hardeep Gill the only vascular surgeon in the entire Sub-Saharan Africa, there is an increased risk of PAD among Africans; 10 percent prevalence amongst Kenyans, rising to 20 percent for people over the age of 70 years.
Dr. Hardeep Gill disclosed that, the most common symptom of PAD is pain in the legs with exertion such as walking. Patients with a history of vascular diseases, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, high BMI, Cigarette smoking or used to smoke are at a risk of suffering from the disease.
“Physical activity and exercise are important for preventing PAD and for improving the symptoms. Avoid use of tobacco; Cigarette smoking increases the risk of PAD by two to six times and it worsens the symptom and control of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. Severe cases may require surgery to bypass blocked arteries,” he added.
PAD, which is also known as Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), builds up as fatty deposits in the arteries therefore restricting blood supply to leg muscles. It is important for it to be detected early enough in order to avoid debilitating complications.