As if you needed another reason to stop smoking, doctors also warn that smoking can affect vein health.
Any amount of smoking puts at risk for a host of conditions such as varicose veins, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and more.
There are a few ways which smoking can severely impact your circulatory health. Nicotine can have the double effect of narrowing the walls of the blood vessels and also hardening the arteries.
Meanwhile, other chemicals within smoking thicken the blood. This impedes oxygen flow.
Any of number of circulatory conditions can therefore be severely exacerbated.
For example, varicose veins, a condition where the veins in your body have difficulty pumping blood from the lower extremities back to the heart, is exacerbated by smoking, which restricts blood flow.
In atherosclerosis, plaque accumulates in the artery, restricting blood flow. Smoking increases your risk of atherosclerosis.
Peripheral artery disease is another disease caused by plaque accumulation in the arteries. Patients with either of these conditions are at a higher risk of stroke or heart attack.
Meanwhile Buerger disease is when the arteries and veins of the feet are chronically inflamed. Smoking puts you at heavy risk for the disease, and in fact, the disease is most common for those who smoke or chew tobacco. In the worst cases of Buerger disease, amputation is sometimes necessary.
If you are a smoker, stopping today can be a boon to your health. Within eight hours, your blood’s oxygen levels will reach normal levels. Within two weeks, your circulation can improve dramatically.
If you have a history of smoking, it’s still important to be checked out by a doctor to see if smoking has damaged your circulatory system.
If you want to know more, call the Vein Center of Maryland to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located in Westminster, Eldersburg, Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Bel Air.
We also service Ellicott City and Columbia in Howard County.