World No Tobacco Day: Smoking causes lasting damage to arteries

World No Tobacco Day

Quitting smoking is worth it at any age. Some health problems can be reversed. The consequences of smoking in the arteries are particularly persistent.

After a few years of stopping smoking, the heart and lungs begin to regenerate, and the risk of heart attack and cancer decreases. But the arteries remain damaged, explains specialist Michaela Kluckner from the University Clinic for Vascular Surgery in Innsbruck. Artery damage that has already been done cannot be undone. If, for example, a vessel is already thickened, deposits have formed, then this causes the body to continue to form new deposits there even after you have stopped smoking.

This can trigger a stroke in the carotid artery. This can lead to circulatory disorders in the legs, which can lead to pain, open spots and even amputations. The good news, however, is that stopping smoking prevents further serious deterioration of the condition. And if you live a healthier life, you improve your chances of a long life considerably.

Smoking cessation linked to lifestyle

These are measures that everyone can take and that have to do with a healthier lifestyle. Blood pressure can be improved with a healthy diet and exercise. Going for a lot of walks also helps to form bypass cycles, explains Michaela Kluckner. Bypasses are small side branches of vessels that grow over time and function like a diversion.

“There is a severe constriction or occlusion in the main vessel. A branch branches off above it and then reconnects with the vessel below the existing constriction, so that blood gets into the leg via this circulation,” says Michaela Kluckner.

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Even if you have smoked for 30 years or more, improve your health by quitting smoking. Young people in particular shouldn’t even start with it, because more information about permanent damage would be important, says Michaela Kluckner.

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