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How Smoking Affects Your Vein Health

Last updated: August 27, 2018
A stack of cigarettes that can affect vein health

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It is no secret that smoking is massively damaging to your health.

Thousands of studies have been conducted that show how smoking affects someone’s health, and the results are terrifying.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.”

With the title of the number one killer in America, smoking leads nearly 500,000 people to death every year.

To drive the point of how awful smoking is even further, the CDC found that “more than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States.”

If that’s not enough to scare you away from cigarettes, then we’ve got more for you.

Smoking and Disease

It shouldn’t be a surprise that smoking cigarettes put you at risk of developing a number of diseases. The American Lung Association highlighted the 10 worst diseases a smoker could possibly develop.

Here they are:
1. Lung cancer
2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
3. Heart disease
4. Stroke
5. Asthma
6. Reproductive diseases in women
7. Premature and low birth-weight babies
8. Diabetes
9. Vision diseases such as blindness, cataracts, and macular degeneration
10. More than 10 types of cancer, including colon, liver, stomach, and pancreatic

However, the list does not stop there. The number of diseases a smoker is at risk of is alarming — and many of them are ones that people likely never even consider.

Such as vein disease.

Smoking makes you far more susceptible to developing venous diseases, primarily due to the toxic chemicals used in making cigarettes.

The most well-known cigarette chemical is nicotine, and it is far eviler than you may know, especially when it comes to your veins. This toxic chemical hardens your arteries and causes blood clots, which has an effect not only on your veins but on your entire body.

The additional chemicals in cigarettes (of which there are over 7,000) contribute to the restriction of your body’s blood flow, which means your veins are unable to work properly.

Below are some of the vein issues you can expect to face if you continue that smoking habit.

Varicose Veins

Many of the 7,000+ chemicals in cigarettes we mentioned above lead to circulation restriction as well as narrowing of blood vessel walls.

And these two things make the perfect recipe for varicose veins. The more you smoke, the more your veins are unable to properly function, and the worse your varicose veins will get.

The scariest part about this is that not only are you putting yourself at risk of developing some unsightly veins on your legs, you are putting your entire body at major risk, particularly your heart.

Varicose veins, if left untreated, can restrict proper blood flow to your heart, which can lead to ulceration.

Atherosclerosis

When you’ve got an excess of plaque buildup in your arteries, you may find yourself a victim of atherosclerosis.

As this disease worsens, your artery loses more of its space to the plaque and loses its ability to allow blood to properly flow.

And, since smoking is a number one candidate for weakening your heart and restricting your blood vessels, it’s no surprise this bad habit is a great way to increase your risk of developing atherosclerosis.

Coronary Artery Disease

This disease is the next level of atherosclerosis.

If it wasn’t terrifying enough to have plaque building up in regular arteries, coronary artery disease means that your coronary arteries are congested with the plaque.

With this, you are likely to experience chest pain, but that is only the beginning.

You may find yourself suffering from a blood clot that keeps your blood from flowing to your heart. And that only means one thing: heart problems. They can range from heart attack to heart failure, and possibly even death.

Buerger Disease

Though not nearly as common as the above diseases, Buerger Disease is something that is seen in smokers.

What exactly is it?

Buerger disease occurs when the arteries and veins in your legs and feet suffer from chronic inflammation. This inflammation means a restriction of your blood flow and if left for too long, could possibly lead to amputation.

One of the most terrible things about smoking is that it doesn’t only affect those who are actually putting the cigarettes to their mouths.

Secondhand smoke is an added bonus of the bad effects smoking can have on health. According to the CDC, since 1964, around 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from complications due to secondhand smoke.

The over 7,000 chemicals present in cigarettes also affect those around a smoker and are especially harmful to children.

Here are some of the diseases that children are at risk of thanks to secondhand smoke:
● Ear infections
● Severe asthma attacks
● Respiratory problems, such as coughing, sneezing, etc.
● Respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia
● High risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Adults aren’t free of risks with secondhand smoke, either.

Below are the common diseases non-smoking adults find themselves at risk of when around a smoker:
● Heart disease
● Lung cancer
● Stroke

So is there anything good about smoking?

The answer to that question is a definite “no.”

Smoking is detrimental to every aspect of your health. The risk to your vein health is one that typically flies under the radar but is equally as dangerous as the more common risks you hear of.

If you are a smoker, contact a Vein Clinics of America vein specialist today. Once you see the effect smoking has on your veins, and the potential hazard it could wreak on your body and those around you, you will quit this bad habit.

Don’t wait for something bad to happen — schedule a free consultation with a VCA vein doctor at one of our 55+ locations to get your vein track on health.

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