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Smoking is associated with a higher risk of peripheral arterial disease in African Americans


Press Release

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Afro-Americans who smoke appear to be at higher risk of peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, found by new researchers. In addition, the results indicate that the intensity of smoking – how many cigarettes a day and how many years – also affects the likelihood of getting a disease.

PAD affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States and 202 million worldwide, especially those aged 50 and over. It develops when arteries in the legs are clogged with plaque, fatty deposits that limit blood flow to the legs. Attached leg arteries can cause symptoms such as claudication, pain due to poor blood flow and increased risk of heart and stroke.

The effect of cigarette smoking on the PAD was insufficiently pronounced in African Americans, although PAD is almost three times more represented in Afro-Americans than in Caucasians. The current study looked at the relationship between smoking and PAD in participants in the Jackson Heart Study, the largest cohort study in one site that investigated cardiovascular disease among Americans.

New research, as well as Jackson Heart Studios, has been funded by the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood (NHLBI) and the National Institute of Minority and Health Disorders (NIMHD), which are part of the National Institute of Health. New findings appear in the January issue Journal of the American Heart Association.

"These results show that smoking is associated with dose-dependent PAD," said lead researcher Donald Clark, III, MD, MD, MD 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."

Although PAD is more common in African Americans than in Caucasians, previous disease studies did not include a significant number of African Americans. This limited the ability of researchers to extract specific smoking effects in this population from other risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

For this study, researchers distributed 5,258 participants to smokers, smokers and smokers. After taking into account other risk factors, they assessed the intensity of smoking and found a relationship dependent on the dose between cigarette smoking and PAD. Those who smoked more than packs daily had a significantly higher risk than those who smoke less than 19 cigarettes every day. Similarly, people with a longer history of smoking had an increased likelihood of disease.

"The current and past smokers have had greater chances of peripheral arterial disease than never smokers; although the odds for smokers were lower, "Clark said. "Our findings add to the mountain evidence of negative effects of smoking and emphasize the importance of stopping smoking, as well as preventing the initiation of smoking."

Clark saw important warnings. Despite strong links between smoking and PAD, for example, findings do not establish a causal relationship; nor can they generalize to people of African descent from other regions or countries, since the heart study of Jackson was conducted in a community of Afro-Americans.

About the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood (NHLBI): NHLBI is a global leader in the implementation and support of research in heart, lung and blood diseases and sleep disorders that enhance scientific knowledge, improve public health and save lives. For more information, visit http: //

National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disorders (NIMHD) one of the 27 institutes and centers of NIH. It conducts scientific research to improve the health of minorities and eliminate health disparities through the implementation and support of research; planning, reviewing, coordinating and evaluating all research on minority health and health differences in NIH; promoting and supporting the training of diverse research workforce; translating and disseminating research information; and encouraging cooperation and partnership. For more information about NIMHD, visit https: //

About National Institutes of Health (NIH):
NIH, the National Agency for Medical Research, includes 27 institutes and centers and is an integral part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is a primary federal agency that carries out and supports basic, clinical and translational medical research and explores the causes, treatments, and medicines for common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, visit

NIH … Converting Discoveri to health®


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