CAMBRIDGE -- Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a serious condition that affects millions of Americans -- often without their knowledge.

Peripheral arterial disease develops when the arteries become clogged with plaque, which are fatty deposits that limit blood flow to the legs. Just like clogged arteries in the heart, clogged arteries in the legs increases the risk for a heart attack or stroke.

If they are present, the typical signs and symptoms of the disease include:

Cold legs;

Poor wound healing;

Constant leg pain, tingling, burning or loss of sensation; and

Pain, heaviness, or fatigue in the leg muscles during activity.

Most people with PAD do not experience symptoms, which is why early diagnosis is so important. Once symptoms do appear, the disease may have already progressed significantly. PAD screenings are recommended if you:

Are over the age of 50.

Smoke or have been a smoker.

Have high blood pressure.

Have high cholesterol.

Have diabetes.

Are overweight.

Consume heavy alcohol.

Have a history of heart disease.

The first step in successfully managing or treating PAD is detecting it. Southeastern Med will provide free PAD screenings on Wed. Jan. 29 at the Guernsey County Senior Citizens' Center from 1 to 4 p.m. The screening will be performed with a FloChec device, which provides a digital, non-invasive study of blood flow. Jackson Flanigan, MD, a general surgeon and Southeastern Med medical staff member, will review the results for each individual.

An appointment is recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. Call 740-435-2900 to schedule an appointment beginning Jan. 13.