If you’re suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD) it is possible to be wondering if smoking cigarettes is the main risk factor or factor in your condition since it is often connected to a myriad of health problems. If you’re a cigarette smoker, it is important to be aware of the role smoking cigarettes plays in the lives of people with PAD and the best way to get assistance.
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Does Smoking Cause PAD?
If smoking causes the development of PAD, it’s an extremely complex question, but research studies suggest that smoking can be a factor. PAD is thought to affect between 3 to 10 percent of the population, however, the prevalence increases to 15 to 20% in those who smoke, suffer from diabetes, or are older. Also, smoking secondhand could affect your cardiovascular health if have enough time to be around it.
PAD is the result of narrowing or blocking the arteries as a result of the formation of plaque which blocks blood, oxygen as well as other nutrients, from flowing into your legs. If this plaque buildup gets to the point of no return and it develops into atherosclerosis which is more common in smokers. Since this condition impedes the flow of blood, it may cause PAD.
Smoking cigarettes can increase the risk of plaque buildup in those who already suffer from peripheral arterial disease. “When you smoke, the nicotine causes your arteries to constrict and become narrower, which reduces the amount of blood flow further,” says the doctor. Yan Katsnelson.
If you continue to smoke cigarettes after having developed PAD It can speed up the severity of the disease. This can include the limitation of your mobility, and also experiencing pain while asleep or sitting.
How Is Smoking Related to Peripheral Artery Disease?
Smoking cigarettes is among the risk factors that are most closely linked for the development of PAD. Apart from smoking cigarettes, which cause blood vessels to become tighter and enlarge, the chemical compounds contained in cigarettes could be a major contributor on the body, such as:
- This allows blood clots to form
- Causes blood coagulation, making it more dense
- Influences platelet function and affects how blood cells clump to stop bleeding
These issues affect the way blood flows through arteries. Since smoking can affect the flow of blood, this could be a cause which causes PAD or can cause it to worsen when it is diagnosed.
Can Quitting Smoking Reverse PAD?
If you’ve discovered you have PAD or suspect you suffer from this condition it is highly recommended that you stop smoking. While quitting smoking is an uphill task and requires a lot of effort, it can slow the progression of the symptoms.
An study by the US National Library of Medicine discovered that smokers who quit smoking did not develop symptoms of claudication for seven years later. However, smokers who continued to smoke noticed a rise in PAD. Claudication is a feeling of weakness or pain in the legs which begins after physical exercise and ceases after a few minutes of rest It can also be a sign of peripheral arterial disease.
Although you might notice less symptoms, quitting smoking will not stop your PAD from occurring, and it’s important to seek out treatment for the disease.
Complications of Smoking and PAD
Smoking could accelerate the effects of PAD which can lead to more serious health problems. Yan Katsnelson, M.D. says, “the nicotine causes the blood vessels to tighten, and smoking tobacco lowers good cholesterol , and raises bad cholesterol. A high level of bad cholesterol are an indicator of risk for developing PAD as it may increase plaque accumulation.”
If someone with the condition continues to smoke and smoke, they’re more likely to be at risk of the following:
- Graft failure
- Heart attack
About Peripheral Artery Disease
As per the American Heart Association, PAD affects around 8.3 million Americans. The prevalence among those over 65 ranges from 12 and 20 percent and only a quarter of the affected sufferers are treated and diagnosed. The rate is higher in African Americans.
It’s unclear the reason smoking causes these risks to the arteries of the legs. The mechanism is identical to that which occurs in the carotid veins in the neck as well as in other blood vessels that surround the heart. We are aware smoking cigarettes causes constriction to the blood vessel walls, which creates a favorable environment that encourages plaque to build up. The blockages that occur in the blood vessels surrounding the heart result in a heart attack. The legs are the most affected. the blockages begin with discomfort. Then, the insufficient circulation destroys the tissue and leaves the patient with no choice but to undergo amputation.
In the beginning, discomfort is eased with the need to rest. However, as the disease advances patients complain of pain in the evening when they put their feet elevated in their bed. In addition the fact that some people with vascular disease don’t feel pain. It is possible to diagnose the condition by checking blood pressure in the arm to leg blood pressure. A higher pressure in the legs can be an indication of a the disease.
The possibility of an Amputation is higher in patients suffering from the disease diabetes which can affect nerves and blood vessels that are small. People with diabetes are more likely to suffer from small wounds on their feet that aren’t healed. Combining diabetes with circulatory complications due to vascular diseases is a horrible combination.
Preventing Peripheral Artery Disease
The prevention of PAD is similar to the prevention of heart diseases. In fact, those suffering from one condition often suffer from another. Weight loss, exercise and medication to lower cholesterol and blood pressure are all helpful. For certain patients, we advise statin (cholesterol lower medications) therapy, as well as anticoagulants. It’s not possible to stress this enough If you smoke, it’s time to give up.
The procedure for treating PAD is the same as procedures used by patients to treat heart disease. The procedure begins with procedures that are less invasive to open up arteries, for example, balloon angioplasty or stents. The bypass surgery is also an alternative. Recently, a man who was 57 years old was seen by me due to an obstruction in his Aorta, which is located close to where it joins two arteries which supply each leg. The blockage was cleared. He’s now walking again and the smoking has stopped. In addition, he was amazed like my other patients who discovered who smoke put him at risk of losing an ankle.
I was a student of public health prior to when I completed my surgical training and have thought often about the work that has to be accomplished outside of the operating room. The advocacy groups did an excellent job of educating the public about smoking, heart disease and lung cancer. However, no one of them went on the fight to increase awareness of the link between smoking cigarettes and developing PAD. I’m happy to report this is changing, but we have an extensive way to go.
While I’d love to be in the operating rooms saving the limbs of patients, I know due to the high rate of smoking in this area, there are patients who will be unable to walk.