Cigarette smoking, regular exercise, and peripheral blood flow

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Anton, Maria Milagros

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Acute and chronic smoking reduces peripheral blood flow and shear stress, contributing to the increased incidence of peripheral arterial disease in smokers. Currently, it is not known whether physical activity status influences peripheral blood flow among chronic smokers. Blood flow was measured using Doppler ultrasound on the common femoral artery in 9 young otherwise healthy sedentary smokers (8 males/1 female), 9 physically-active smokers (6 males/3 females), and in 9 sedentary nonsmokers (5 males/4 females). Physically-active smokers performed strenuous exercise 4.4 times/week. No significant differences in body fat and blood pressure were observed between groups. Basal femoral artery blood flow was ~50% and 44% higher in physically-active smokers and sedentary nonsmokers compared with sedentary smokers. The higher basal femoral artery blood flow in physically-active smokers and sedentary smokers compared with sedentary smokers was associated with a 47% and 52% higher femoral artery vascular conductance and a 39% and 36% lower vascular resistance. Cardiac output, systemic vascular resistance, femoral intima-media thickness, and plasma norepinephrine concentration were not different between the groups. We concluded that smokers who habitually perform physical activity demonstrate greater levels of peripheral blood flow and peripheral vascular conductance. These findings suggest that chronic smokers may be able to negate, at least in part, the adverse effects of chronic smoking on the peripheral vasculature by performing regular physical activity


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