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The University of Chicago Medicine launches "Dare to C.A.R.E."

Heart and vascular program to provide free screenings

September 17, 2014

Cardiovascular disease is the leading health issue in America today, but many of the conditions associated with it can go undetected until they cause serious illness or death. To help identify individuals at risk -- and intervene early when treatment is most effective -- the University of Chicago Medicine is launching a free heart and vascular disease screening program, called Dare to C.A.R.E.

The Dare to C.A.R.E. program screens for four common vascular diseases:

  • Carotid artery disease, which causes strokes;
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm, which can be lethal if an aneurysm bursts;
  • Renal artery disease, which can lead to serious kidney disease and hemodialysis; and
  • Extremity artery disease, which affects the lower legs and can lead to amputation.


Christopher Skelly, MD, chief of vascular surgery at the University of Chicago, called the screening program a "valuable public health tool in the fight against the illness that's the leading cause of death in the United States."

The hospital hopes to screen 500 participants during the first year of the effort.

"Many older adults have risk factors for cardiovascular disease," Skelly said. "We strongly advocate for screenings that can help detect cardiovascular disease at early stages, when we have the best chance of helping the patient by stopping disease progression."

The program begins Sept. 25 with a launch event at the University of Chicago Medicine's Center for Care and Discovery, 5700 S. Maryland Ave., from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Special guests include Neil Shubin, PhD, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago and the host of the recent PBS series, "Your Inner Fish," and Chicago White Sox announcer Mike Huff, who was a member of the 1993 Western Division Champion team.

A limited number of attendees will have the opportunity to be screened at the event. Additional weekly screenings, which typically involve a 20-minute, non-invasive ultrasound, will be offered on Saturdays starting Oct. 4.

Those who wish to attend the launch event should contact Abigail Irvine at 773-834-0999 to RSVP.

To learn about eligibility or to make an appointment for a free screening, visit www.uchospitals.edu/dare-to-care or call the hospital at 773-834-5599.

About vascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in America. Every year, more than 600,000 people die of heart disease. That's one out of every four deaths.
Unfortunately, the majority of people with this disease are not aware of their risks. Cardiovascular disease affects the heart and arteries in the body. It is called coronary artery disease (CAD) when the heart is involved and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) when it involves arteries in other parts of the body, such as the arms, legs, kidneys, intestines and brain.

Increased risk factors for vascular disease include age (greater than 60), as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or smoking. Individuals over the age of 50 who have any of those risk factors should consider screening. A family history of vascular disease — including stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney failure, abdominal aortic aneurysms or sudden cardiac death — also increases risk.

About Dare to Care
Dare to C.A.R.E. is a free screening program offering through a collaboration between local community health centers and the Heart Health Foundation. The main mission is to educate local communities about the risks of vascular disease and identify people at risk for major heart events. Unlike other screening services, Dare to C.A.R.E. is absolutely free to patients and their referring physicians. Since Dare to C.A.R.E began screening patients in 2000, more than 100,000 patients have been screened.

About the University of Chicago Medicine
The University of Chicago Medical Center, established in 1927, is one of the nation's leading academic biomedical institutions. It includes of the University of Chicago Medicine, the Pritzker School of Medicine, and the Division of the Biological Sciences. The Medical Center is consistently recognized as a leading provider of groundbreaking research, medical education, complex medical care and biomedical innovation. University of Chicago physician-scientists have been pioneers in cancer biology, organ transplantation, sleep research, evolutionary biology and many other fields.

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