DUBOIS – Bodies change as we get older. That’s a fact.
Learning about these changes and improving your health is the best way to live life to its fullest.
That is why the Women’s Health Center of DuBois, a part of DuBois Regional Medical Center, is hosting the first in a four-part series “Get What You Need Out of Life.”
“Get What You Need Out of Life” is a DRMC Spirit of Women program focusing on activities that are important to women in their 40s through 60s. DRMC is a member of the Spirit of Women national network, an organization of health care professionals working together to promote women’s health and overall wellness.
To roll out the program in the DuBois area for the first time, the Women’s Health Center will present “Stand Up for Yourself” on Sept. 10. “Stand Up for Yourself” focuses on leg health and especially, peripheral arterial disease or PAD.
Peripheral arterial disease or PAD is the term for clogged arteries in the legs. Having clogged arteries in the legs can cause leg pain and raises the risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
“Just as the arteries in one’s heart can become clogged and damaged, so can the arteries in one’s legs,” Lori Rancik, case manager for the Women’s Health Center of DuBois, said.
“It is important that women recognize the risk factors as well as the warning signs,” Rancik said. “This is important because many times, people do not even realize their risk for the disease until symptoms occur, and by this time, the disease is well-advanced.”
To be convenient for all women, Sept. 10’s event is a two-parter.
The first part of the day from 1-6 p.m., women may attend a free PAD screening by making an appointment with the Women’s Health Center at 371-WOMN (9666).
The screenings are simple and non-invasive, Rancik said. It is as easy as getting your blood pressure taken on the ankle and on the arm.
“This evaluation determines if there is a measurable decrease in circulation in arms and legs, which could mean PAD. Women will be referred to their primary care provider for more specific testing if the results show these changes,” Rancik said.
As for the really fun part of the day, that occurs from 5-7 p.m.
There will be bone-health exercise and Tai Chi demonstrations.
Bone-health exercises will be taught by Sharon Johnson, a DRMC physical therapist.
The exercises are weight-bearing exercises that help maintain the bone and prevent further bone loss, Johnson said. She will also show how to improve your posture, posture awareness, body mechanics and some flexibility exercises.
“The idea is to prevent bone loss,” Johnson said, “and promote overall awareness of what you can do to maybe help today and in the future.”
The tai chi demonstration will be performed by Kem Duckett of Clearfield. Tai chi is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise performed in a series of slow, graceful movements. Each movement flows into the next without pausing.
Tai chi is a good way to improve your general health and is safe for ages and levels of fitness. “Studies have shown that for older adults tai chi can improve balance and reduce the risk of falls,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The movements are low impact and put minimal stress on muscles and joints.
Tai Chi reduces stress, increase flexibility, improves muscle strength and energy, and improves agility and stamina.
Also at “Stand Up for Yourself” will be information about PAD prevention, osteoporosis, arthritis and why women should take Vitamin D and calcium.
Nancy Foradora, a DRMC employee and a certified massage therapist, will be on-hand to teach foot massage and foot care.
Learn about heart health, diabetes and varicose veins from DRMC experts, and pick up information about how to quit smoking.
All women are invited to attend.
“As we focus on leg health, our goal is to help women ‘stand up’ for their health and take action,” Rancik said. “We want them to ensure their get-up-and-go in the future.”
“Three more programs in the ‘Get What You Need Out of Life’ series are still ahead,” according to Judi Withers, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at DRMC. “A New Year, A New You” will be held Jan. 8. This event will have a unique focus, including financial well being as well as physical and emotional health. The last two programs in the ‘Get What You Need Out of Life’ series will be held in the spring and summer.
Both parts of the “Stand Up for Your Health” event will be held at DRMC’s Central Resource Center at the west campus along Hospital Avenue in DuBois. It’s the former Central Christian High School building.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for PAD screening, contact the Women’s Health Center at 371-WOMN (9666).
What is PAD?
DUBOIS – One in 20 Americans over the age of 50 has a condition that raises their risks for heart attacks and strokes, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The condition is called peripheral arterial disease or PAD. PAD is a disease that develops when the arteries in the leg become clogged with fatty deposits and limit the flow of blood to the legs.
“Like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs raise your risk for heart attack or stroke,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. PAD affects 8-12 million people in the United States, and some people are more susceptible to PAD because of genetics or habits.
Who is at risk? People who are:
• Over age 50;
• Smokers or former smokers. If you smoked or used to smoke, the risk of getting PAD multiplies by four.
• Diabetics. One in three diabetics over age 50 is likely to have PAD, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said.
• People with high blood pressure;
• People with high cholesterol;
• People with a history of vascular disease, heart attack or stroke.
• African Americans. The risk is doubled based on statistics.
What are the symptoms?
Typically, PAD causes:
• Leg cramps. The back of the leg may cramp when walking or climbing stairs. (The pain will stop when you stop walking.)
• Leg or foot pain that keeps you awake;
• Sores or wounds on the toes, feet or legs that heal slowly or not at all;
• Color changes in the skin of the feet to a pale or blue shade;
• One leg to feel cooler than the other;
• Poor nail growth;
• A decreased amount of hair growth on the toes and legs.
There is a simple test that checks for PAD. It is painless and easy as getting a blood-pressure reading.
It is called an ankle-brachial index. Blood pressure readings from your ankles are compared to blood-pressure readings taken from your arms. A difference in the two readings may show there is a blockage.
If there is a blockage, your doctor would schedule you for a Doppler ultrasound to see where the blockage is and make plans to have this problem corrected.
Simple lifestyle changes will be the first line of treatment. That means a PAD patient should quit smoking, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, follow a healthy diet, exercise and lose weight.
A doctor may prescribe medicine and, in severe cases, perform procedures to clear the blockage.
For more information about PAD, visit this Web site.