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Smoking Causes Pain - Another Reason To Quit

Armen Hareyan's picture

Interventional Radiologists, medical doctors who specialize in the vascular system, are urging smokers to quit. Not just because smoking causes cancer, but because it damages arteries in the legs which can lead to other vascular disease, including a heart attack and stroke.

Most smokers are aware of cancer risk, but few know about the effects of smoking on the vascular system. Interventional Radiologists see first hand the damage that smoking causes to the arteries and the accompanying leg pain that many smokers suffer. For some the pain is so severe, it limits their ability to walk.

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More than 10 million Americans suffer from a hardening of the arteries in the legs, peripheral vascular disease, PVD.

Diagnosis for PVD is simple. A blood pressure test compares the pressure in the ankle to the pressure in the arm, known as an ankle brachial index test. Treatment includes a supervised exercise program and stopping smoking. Some also need medication or angioplasty in the leg to reopen the artery and improve blood flow.

Interventional radiologists are board-certified vascular specialists who offer minimally invasive, targeted treatments. They offer the most in-depth knowledge of the least invasive, targeted treatments available coupled with diagnostic and clinical experience across all specialties. They use X-rays, MRI and other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat at the source of the disease nonsurgically. As the inventors of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used in the legs to treat peripheral vascular disease, interventional radiologists pioneered minimally invasive modern medicine.