Marijuana use linked to increased risk of peripheral artery disease

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Study Presentation at SCAI 2023

New research findings were unveiled at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI) 2023 Scientific Sessions.

The study revealed that marijuana users face a substantially higher risk of developing Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) compared to the general population.

The Rising Trend of Marijuana Use

The use of marijuana has been on the rise in recent years, with nearly 50 million people admitting to using it at least once, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although numerous studies have explored the health implications of marijuana use, research specifically focusing on its effects on the vascular system has been scarce.

The Impact of PAD

PAD is a condition characterized by narrowed arteries that impede blood flow to the arms or legs. It currently affects 6.5 million people in the United States.

If left untreated, PAD can lead to mobility loss, diminished quality of life, heart attack, stroke, and even death.

Research Methodology

The researchers examined de-identified patient data from the National Inpatient Samples (NIS) from 2016-2019. The selected data pertained to patients who reported marijuana use and were diagnosed with PAD.

Patients were then further categorized based on whether they had undergone any percutaneous lower extremity vascular intervention.

The data analysis was conducted using SPSS software in a binary logistic regression model.

The results were considered statistically significant if the p-value was less than 0.001, and samples were standardized using predicted probabilities for comparison purposes.

Key Findings

Out of 30 million patients identified, 623,768 were recognized as marijuana users.

These patients had an average age of 37.4 years, were equally represented by both genders, were predominantly white, and were more likely to be elective admissions.

Among these marijuana users, 2,424 (0.38%) were also diagnosed with PAD. The study found that marijuana users had over three times the risk of developing PAD.

However, there was no statistically significant increased risk for mortality or the need for percutaneous intervention among these patients.

Implications and Recommendations

Lead author of the study, Hirva Vyas, DO, from Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ, noted that the rise in marijuana use in the U.S. necessitates users to be cognizant of PAD symptoms.

These include leg pain while walking, slower or no hair growth, and feelings of coldness in the leg.

As PAD is a progressive disease that can significantly degrade the quality of life, continuous monitoring of this patient group is crucial.

The authors of the study recommend more vigilant monitoring for disease screening and progression.

This should begin earlier in the outpatient setting. In addition to this, they also recommend counseling for cessation, given the results of the study.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about COVID infection and vaccination linked to heart problems, and how to drink coffee to prevent heart disease and stroke.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about common food that may strongly increase heart disease risk, and results showing Vitamin K2 could help reduce heart disease risk.

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