Smoking and the Circulatory System

Melanie Nukala, MD, vascular surgeon, discusses smoking and the circulatory system.

How does smoking affect the circulatory system?

The arteries have three layers. When you smoke, it actually damages the innermost layer of the artery, which then causes inflammatory cells and different cells that are in your bloodstream naturally to go to that area to try to repair it. This ends up causing calcium and plaque buildup, which can then ultimately cause narrowing in the arteries or aneurysm formation of the aorta.