African-Americans who smoke appear to be at greater risk for peripheral artery disease, or PAD, research has found. Additionally, the findings suggest that smoking intensity--how many cigarettes a day and for how many years--also affects the likelihood of getting the disease.
PAD affects 8,000,000 to 12,000,000 people in the U.S. and 202,000,000 worldwide, especially those age 50 and older. It develops when arteries in the legs become clogged with plaque, fatty deposits that limit blood flow. Clogged arteries in the legs can cause symptoms such as claudication (pain due to too little blood flow) and increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
The current study looked at the relationship between smoking and PAD in participants in the Jackson Heart Study, the largest single site cohort study investigating cardiovascular disease in African-Americans.
'These findings demonstrate that smoking is associated with PAD in a dose-dependent manner," says lead researcher Donald Clark, III, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson. 'This is particularly important in the African-American community and supports the evaluation of smoking-cessation efforts to reduce the impact of PAD in this population."
Even though PAD is...