Could a smoking habit be light enough to no longer be a risk factor for DVT?
Or is the risk of deep vein thrombosis the same for light smokers as it is for moderate and even heavy?
The risk factors for a deep vein thrombosis always include smoking in the list.
But there is never any mention of the degree of risk relative to the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
So what does a medical doctor have to say about this?
“There have not been any studies about light smoking and DVT risk,” begins Susan L. Besser, MD, with Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore; Diplomate, American Board of Obesity Medicine and board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
“The risk is actually based on pack-years,” continues Dr. Besser. “What that means is if you smoke a half a pack a day for 40 years you have a 20 pack-year history.
“That is significant (about a four-fold increase in risk over nonsmokers).
“The risk is even higher in women who smoke AND use oral contraceptives (up to an eight-fold risk).”
• What if you smoke one-fourth a pack a day for 40 years? That’s a 10 pack-year history.
• And what about pack-years when the time span is 20 years instead of 40?
• Or 10 years?
• And what if you smoke only three cigarettes a day?
• Or three on some days and a whole pack on others? Do you then calculate “pack-weeks”?
• What if you skip days or your habit goes in cycles?
Starting to get confused?
The so-called light smoking, even very light, raises the risk of a blood clot.
Dr. Besser has a way to end the confusion: “Bottom line — DON’T smoke!”
That way, you’ll never have to worry about the impact that smoking has on your risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis – which can dislodge, travel to your lungs and cause a fatal pulmonary embolism.
Dr. Besser provides comprehensive family care, treating common and acute primary conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Her ongoing approach allows her the opportunity to provide accurate and critical diagnoses of more complex conditions and disorders.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.