What is smoking cessation?
While most ads for quitting smoking focus on lung cancer, few people realize that they can also risk losing their legs. Smoking is one of the leading risk factors associated with peripheral vascular disease or PVD, which can result in narrowing of your blood vessels. The nicotine in cigarettes raises your blood pressure, speeds up your heart rate and constricts the arteries throughout the body. This constriction narrows the opening of the arteries, making it harder for the heart to pump blood through them. This also causes the body to release its stores of fat and cholesterol into the blood, resulting in more plaque buildup on the walls of your arteries.
Smoking not only accelerates the hardening and narrowing of your arteries with plaque, but also puts you at a much higher risk of developing blood clots because it makes your blood thicker. This puts you at a much higher risk for stroke, heart attack, and limb loss. To protect the health of your vascular system and prevent future damage, it is vital to quit smoking.