Education is key to maintaining the health of the community, and that’s exactly what Community Healthcare System is doing with their L.I.V.E. Program and their Peripheral Vascular Disease Awareness Symposium that they held at Community Hospital on Thursday.
The Limb Ischemia and Vascular Excellence Program or L.I.V.E., provides excellent education about Peripheral Vascular Disease or PVD through screening events and educational events such as this one. L.I.V.E. offers an opportunity for the community and patients to meet with doctors, nurses and medical companies involved in battling what many don’t realize can be a life-threatening and very painful disease. The event also offers an opportunity to attend various lectures on the topic from leading doctors at the hospital.
Gina Harris, an advanced practice nurse and the coordinator of the L.I.V.E. program at Community Hospital, was present to provide information about the event and to aid in helping patients make sense of what could be a confusing path to recovery.
“This is a multi-disciplinary medical approach,” said Harris. “If people have any issues with their veins or arteries, they need to see an interventional cardiologist who can open vessels and correct veins.”
Cardiologists, however, aren’t the only doctors that patients who suffer from PVD may need to see. The disease, which affects the circulation of the extremities, is also common in diabetic patients.
“This disease is very common with patients who are diabetic and who have other issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol," explained Harris. "We want to make sure they have those proper doctors there too to keep their conditions under control.”
September is PVD Awareness month, and as such, Community Healthcare System wants to get the word out about this chronically under-diagnosed disease.
“It’s very under-recognized,” said Harris. “We want to make sure that the public knows if they’re having problems with their legs, they should be letting doctors know and coming to screening events or educational events, so they can get the care they need.”
PVD often affects the mobility of the patients and in severe cases can even lead to amputation of affected tissue due to uncontrolled infection or gangrene. At the event, people were treated to booths both from Community Healthcare System and from outside vendors. Many vendors taught attendees about the many ways their lives can be changed by going through treatment of this chronically painful disease, which is caused by severe clotting in the veins and arteries of our circulatory systems.
Diana Donnell, an attendee of the event and patient of Community Hospital, was learning everything she could about the various ways PVD is treated. She learned about the event through a flier mailed to her home and was excited to learn about the various treatment methods.
“I have most of the diseases that they’re covering,” Donnell explained. “And the lead speaker is my doctor.”
Donnell really appreciated the education that Community Healthcare System was offering to the public.
“People don’t really get the education,” she said. “They don’t go out and search for it, and you can’t trust everything you read on the web, so this will give you top-rate information so you can make some judgements about your health.”
The lead speaker at the event, Dr. David Stewart, is an interventional cardiologist at Community Hospital and the Medical Director of the L.I.V.E. program there. He was happy to educate the public on a disease that can take the lives of those who go undiagnosed for too long.
“I think it’s all about increasing awareness,” Stewart said. “Too often, if there’s not that much education available, people will ignore minor symptoms, and those minor symptoms can turn into major complications or even life threatening issues. We really have to head things off before they get that bad.”
Fadi Zaknoun, District Manager with Cook Medical, one of the equipment vendors on display at the event, had great things to say about the event and the awareness it brings to the community.
“The biggest benefit is awareness, and this program is doing a great job of spreading that awareness, so patients or potential patients can get the information they need. Community is a great place to do that.”
For more information on programs and events from Community Healthcare System, includes another upcoming PVD Symposium on September 21st, click here.