PAD or peripheral arterial disease affects 8-12 million people in the United States. It's an affliction you probably haven't heard of. One of the reasons might be is that you may have it and not realize it. September is peripheral arterial disease awareness month. In a nutshell it's when you arteries begin to harden or block up in your leg or legs.If the circulation in your legs is worsening, there's certainly a chance it's happening elsewhere. This of course translates into a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.

The symptoms are usually a heaviness in the leg. It's like trudging through a snow drift and your legs are exhausted. Now walk some more. That's what PAD feels like. It's known as claudication in the calf. Other symptoms are toe nails not growing and a change of color in the feet. Your feet may become pale if blood isn't reaching your foot or feet. On the other hand your toes may become dark or purplish if the blood cannot leave your foot or feet.

Sores on ones legs or feet that are very slow to heal or don't heal at all are another sign of PAD.

That heavy feeling in your leg or legs may not be age. Your doctor can help you at least slow the progression but can't cure it. Slowing the circulation problems in your legs should also result in slowing of the circulation shutdown to your heart or head.

Some things you can do include stop smoking, monitor your blood pressure and have your cholesterol checked.