CHICAGO - “If smokers could see what I see – tobacco damaged veins and arteries - they would eagerly participate in the Great American Smoke Out on November 17,” said vascular surgeon, Spencer Galt, M.D., of the Society for Vascular Surgery®.
The 34th Annual Great American Smoke Out is an invitation to “kick the habit” for America’s 46.6 million smokers.
“Cancer, heart disease, and stroke – all of which are caused by smoking - are among the biggest killers of Americans,” said Dr. Galt. “The Great American Smoke Out spotlights the benefits of quitting smoking. One of the most important habits for vascular wellness is not smoking.”
Tobacco Use: Targeting the Nation’s Leading Killer, a 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicates that smoking leads to 443,000 premature deaths annually due to tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke.
“Nicotine in cigarettes raises blood pressure and constricts arteries,” said Dr. Galt. Narrowed arteries can result in:
- blood clots
- heart attacks (narrowed coronary artery)
- stroke (narrowed brain or neck artery)
- peripheral arterial disease (PAD) leading to gangrene and amputation (narrowed leg artery)
- erectile dysfunction for men in their 30s and 40s (narrowed artery to the penis).
In addition, smokers are more likely to develop aneurysms (ballooning of an artery due to a weakness in the blood vessel wall) than non-smokers,” said Dr. Galt. “These conditions are preventable by becoming a non-smoker on Nov. 17.”
By Nov. 19, (48 hours after quitting smoking):
Blood pressure will decrease
Pulse rate will drop
Body temperature of hands and feet will increase
Carbon monoxide level in the blood will return to normal
Oxygen level in the blood will return to normal
Chance of a heart attack will decrease
Nerve endings will start to re-grow
Ability to taste and smell will increase
Source: Society for Vascular Surgery
Smokers should talk to their doctors about vascular health. Non-invasive ultrasound screenings can detect many vascular conditions. Lifestyle changes, medications, stents, and bypass surgery can correct some of these conditions.
To learn more, visit VascularWeb.org.
About the Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,500 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at VascularWeb.org®. Follow SVS on Twitter and Facebook.