• The VIC Vascular Team

Smoking & Peripheral Artery Disease

Increased Risk Factors?


Chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood cells, and can also damage the function of your heart as well as the structure and function of your blood vessels. This damage increases your risk of atherosclerosis, a disease in which waxy substance called plaque, builds up in the arteries. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries, irritating the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body. Smoking, is also a major risk factor for peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs and limbs. In some cases, CLI (Critical Limb Ischemia) an advanced form of PAD, can lead to amputation. By quitting - even for one day - smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cardiovascular and cancer risk. Many smokers do not quit on their first attempt, but the benefits to stopping smoking are well worth it.


Roxanne Phillips, DNP


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