BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — September is Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Month, also known as PAD.

According to health experts, PAD is caused by blockages in the leg arteries. Doctors say in the early stages of the disease, it can cause pain and other symptoms in the lower body while walking.

In a more progressive stage of the disease, called critical limb ischemia, patients may experience constant pain even when not walking, which clinicians call “rest pain,” or have non-healing wounds and gangrene.

Local doctors remind us of the symptoms to be on the lookout for.

“I think the main thing is paying attention to your symptoms,” said Dr. Munish Goyal, a cardiologist at Ascension St. Vincent’s. “I can’t tell you how many patients will complain of leg pain, and when they walk, they will just say ‘Oh, I’m getting older or just arthritis or my knee or my hip.’ And it may just be orthopedic issues. But a lot of time discussing it with their doctor, there are a few questions that we can ask. Where is the location of the discomfort? Just simple questions that will just steer us one way or the other.”

Health experts estimate that over 200 million people worldwide suffer from the condition. For more information, click here.