September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) awareness month! PAD is a cardiovascular condition characterized by narrowing of the peripheral arteries, which results in poor blood flow to the extremities. While PAD can affect the arteries of the head, arms, and stomach, the disease is most prevalent in the legs and can cause symptoms such as leg cramps, leg pain, and fatigue when walking.
According to the National Institutes of Health, PAD affects between 8 and 12 million people in America. Although PAD is a common disease, if left untreated, it can progress into more serious conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and even amputation. Additionally, those who have been affected by PAD generally cannot walk as fast or as far as they could before their diagnosis.
At First Coast Cardiovascular Institute we are passionate about amputation prevention, which is why Dr. Desmond Bell, Wound Care Specialist, decided to start the Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation (SALSAL). As Founder and President of the SALSAL Foundation, Dr. Bell strives to reduce amputations and raise awareness for diseases such as PAD by educating the community on the importance of early intervention and screening.
In 2013, the SALSAL Foundation started the White Sock Campaign as a fun way to raise awareness for PAD and advocate the importance of early detection to prevent amputation. The white sock symbolizes solidarity with our amputees and other wound care patients who are only able to wear one shoe. “It’s kind of crazy to look at someone and think ‘Why are they wearing a white sock?’. That’s the point though, it’s to create awareness,” Dr. Bell says.
Anyone can participate in the White Sock Campaign – all you need is one white sock and a passion for the SALSAL Foundation’s mission! Be sure to snap a photo while wearing your white sock and upload it to social media using the hashtag #whitesockcampaign to spread awareness for this great cause.
For more information on PAD and amputation prevention, visit the SALSAL Foundation website at www.thesalsal.org.