The Relationship Between Cigarettes and Your Veins

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smokingThere are literally dozens of reasons why a person should stay away from smoking cigarettes, and with all the media constantly calling attention to them, it is very likely that you are aware of at least a few of these reasons. While most people are aware of the effects that cigarettes have on their lungs, heart, oral health, and overall appearance, it is less likely that they are aware of the effects smoking can have on their veins as well. However, because a person’s vein health heavily effects their overall health, one should really be aware of the full extent of harm caused by this too often deadly habit.

Vein damage from smoking cigarettes often makes itself apparent in the form of unattractive varicose veins and spider veins. While varicose veins and spider veins can cause discomfort as well as embarrassment, the real damage and potential for life-threatening disease occurs on the inside, where people can’t see the full extent of damage without an examination by a vascular specialist. One of the most serious complications that arises from venous disease is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that occurs when blood clots form within the body’s deep veins.

Deep vein thrombosis, a serious condition in and of itself, can furthermore lead to the life-threatening condition of a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot caused by DVT breaks off, travels through the bloodstream, and becomes stuck in the lungs, blocking and preventing blood flow, and, in many cases, resulting in death. Because smokers are 50% more likely to develop DVT than are non-smokers, it’s easy to see the correlation between the two.

So how exactly does smoking effect a person’s vascular system? To put it simply, the dangerous chemicals and toxins added to and found in cigarettes wreak havoc on the body’s circulatory system. Nicotine, perhaps the most well known substance added to tobacco products, causes the body’s arteries to both narrow and harden, greatly heightening the risk for the formation of blood clots. Other chemicals found in cigarettes act to thicken the blood and reduce oxygen flow, greatly slowing the overall blood flow throughout the body. Taking in both of these factors together, one can understand that smoking both thickens the blood while at the same time narrowing the path that is has to travel through, thus leading to some extremely serious health conditions.

The easiest solution in preventing smoking related venous disease is to never start smoking at all, or, for people who already smoke, to stop smoking immediately. While the damage done from smoking cigarettes is not completely irreversible, quitting smoking can greatly reduce the risks of related venous disease, as well as reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease as well. If no action is taken, a longterm smoker almost guarantees themselves a spot on the operating table for vascular surgery in their future.

Those in the Tampa area already effected by varicose veins or other venous conditions can seek help with Dr. Zuzga of West Florida Vein Center. Many vein conditions are now easily treatable with minimally invasive techniques and procedures, with many patients reporting little to no pain as well as almost immediate relief of their symptoms. Contact our staff today to learn about the many options available to you and to schedule an appointment at our state of the art Tampa vein center.

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Tampa Vein Specialists

No one needs to suffer from untreated varicose vein disease anymore. In addition, with today's favorable insurance coverage, the procedures are even more accessible. If you have a vein problem, you need Dr. Zuzga and West Florida Vein Center!


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