WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — September is Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) develops when arteries become blocked by a buildup of fats or cholesterol on artery walls. It contributes to wounds that won’t heal, which can lead to amputation.

A local surgeon wants patients to know that there are treatments available that can improve their quality of life.

“They haven’t been aware of the stuff we do nowadays, especially with vascular surgery,” said Dr. Ali Kimyaghalam, a vascular surgeon. “Every day, every new month there’s a new technique, there’s a new device we can use to help them. I just want the patients to be aware that we can help them.”

Pad affects between 8 and 12 million people in the U.S.

Although the symptoms may be serious, around 40% of people with PAD do not experience any symptoms.

The following are symptoms of PAD to look out for:

  • Chronic wounds on toes, feet or legs
  • An inability to walk as fast or as far as before
  • Leg or foot pain that leads to problems sleeping
  • Fatigue or heaviness in the limbs or cramping in the thigh or calf after walking or climbing stairs
  • The skin of the feet may change color and become pale or turn blue
  • Toenails do not grow as well as before and people may also experience decreased hair growth on the toes and legs

The following risk factors can increase the chances of PAD:

  • Smoking or having a history of smoking
  • One in 3 diabetics over the age of 50 are likely to have PAD
  • People with high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or a history of vascular disease, heart attack or stroke
  • Aging gradually icreases risk

Trumbull Regional Medical Center says timely detection and treatment of any wound can reduce the risk of amputation and improve quality of life.