We all know that smoking damages the lungs—but have you ever thought about how it affects your veins? Cigarettes contain toxic chemicals, leading to damage of the veins and arteries. Because of this, those who smoke may be more prone to developing varicose or spider veins.
Think about a cigarette. You light it, breathe in and breathe out. What does that have to do with veins? Harmful chemicals are released in cigarette smoke, entering the bloodstream and causing damage. Habitual smoking continuously deposits these chemicals into the body, thickening the blood and reducing oxygen. This slows blood flow, increasing the chance of varicose vein development
Smokers also place themselves at a higher risk for developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot deep in the body that typically occurs in the lower leg or thigh. Studies reveal that smokers are 50% more likely to develop a DVT than non-smokers. A more severe consequence, however, is the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot or other artery blockage in the lungs. The nicotine in cigarettes causes the arteries to harden and narrow, making these blood clots more likely to occur.
If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do for your health—and your veins—is to quit. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of blood clots and other venous issues. If you suffer from leg pain or leg swelling and are a smoker, quitting can reduce pain as well as your risk for further vascular complications.
If you suffer from tired, achy legs or other varicose vein symptoms, you should know AVLC offers virtually pain-free treatments for your venous conditions. We provide minimally-invasive options to treat you in the comfort of our facility—walk-in, walk-out. Contact us for a free ultrasound screening to see if your leg discomfort could be caused by varicose veins.