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Chronic circulatory condition known as PAD affects nearly 20 million Americans

September is PAD Awareness month. PAD stands for Peripheral Artery Disease, a chronic circulatory condition that affects nearly 20 million Americans.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — September is PAD Awareness month. PAD stands for Peripheral Artery Disease, a chronic circulatory condition that affects nearly 20 million Americans. 

It is caused by the buildup of plaque in the peripheral arteries leading to the stomach, head, arms and most commonly the legs. 

When the narrowing and blockage of arteries occurs, it decreases the blood flow and causes pain, difficulty walking and discoloration of the limbs. Complete loss of circulation can lead to amputation. 

Dr. John Morris is a Vascular Surgeon and Medical Director of the Wound Care Program and Department of Surgery at Mercy Health Saint Mary's. He says smoking and diabetes are the number one causes of PAD. Depending on the extent of the disease, Dr. Morris says intervention is often a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that restores flow to the involved extremity. 

Failure to treat the condition can necessitate much more intensive treatment options. For more information about PAD, visit www.mercyhealth.com.