The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Foundation today launched its second-annual September Vascular Health Step Challenge to raise awareness about vascular health and promote the benefits of walking for overall well-being, while also raising funds to benefit low-income vascular patients. The campaign coincides with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Awareness Month and Healthy Aging Month. “The SVS Foundation invites the community to join our September Vascular Health Step Challenge and quite literally take steps toward better vascular health,” says Dr. Joseph Mills, SVS President. “PAD affects more than 10 million people in the U.S., but walking an average of 30 minutes or more each day can lower the risk of PAD. Together, we’re working to raise awareness, raise our step counts, and raise vital funds to help low-income PAD patients.” The Vascular Health Step Challenge encourages each participant to walk 60 miles throughout the month of September to help keep the body’s 60,000 miles of blood vessels healthy. Funds raised during the campaign support low-income vascular patients, ensuring that financial barriers do not hinder their access to vital treatments; money also will support the SVS Foundation’s research and prevention efforts. “The Vascular Health Step Challenge is not just about walking; it’s about advocacy, awareness, and action,” says Dr. Michael Dalsing, SVS Foundation Chair. “By participating, individuals become advocates for their own vascular health and spread awareness within their communities.” PAD is a chronic disease affecting one in 20 Americans over age 60, in which plaque builds up in the arteries and blood flow becomes limited; when left untreated, PAD can lead to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, amputation, and even death. Patients with PAD may have no symptoms at all, or they may have pain or numbness in the feet, painful sores or ulcers on the feet, or pain in the leg while walking, which goes away when walking stops. Risk factors include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and being over age 65 — though PAD affects people of all ages. For more information, and to register for the Vascular Health Step Challenge, visit: https://vascular.org/svs-foundation
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