Amputation risks posed by smoking

Experts are warning that more than 128,000 people in the North West '“ 90 per cent of whom are smokers or ex-smokers - could be living with a serious vascular condition that can lead to leg amputation or a fatal heart attack.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is urging smokers in the North West to give up the deadly habit on No Smoking Day (March 9) and lower their risk of peripheral arterial disease: a silent and largely unknown killer in the UK.

There are 63,900 registered PAD patients in the North West but an expert estimates that the real number could be twice as high.

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Around half of all sufferers show no symptoms until they suffer a heart attack or stroke.

BHF Associate Medical Director, Dr Mike Knapton, said: “Peripheral arterial disease can lead to horrific consequences and the silent nature of the condition means opportunities to diagnose and treat it are often missed. We do know that stopping smoking is the single most effective way of reducing your risk of developing this potentially deadly disease.”