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By contactus
September 15, 2011
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We have all heard that smoking is a leading cause of cancer and can cause many other health related problems; in fact the CDC reports that 1 in 5 deaths in the United States are due to smoking related health issues.  Many people may not have, however, heard of the serious problems that smoking can have on other parts of the body, including your feet. 

Chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the body’s blood vessels to constrict, making less room for the blood to get through.  This can quickly decrease the amount of blood that is getting to the hands and feet, which depletes those areas of much needed oxygen. Because the blood vessels are narrowed you also have an increased risk of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), due to a higher chance of plaques developing in the smaller spaces.  Both of these consequences of smoking can have a huge impact on the general well being of your feet as well as how they heal when injured.

Decreased blood flow means a decrease in the flow of oxygen and other important nutrients which are a must-have for the human body to perform.  Oxygen is a very important ingredient in our cells’ recipe for health; it gives our cells the energy to fight disease and keep our tissues in good repair.  With a decreased blood flow, as can be seen in smokers, a simple cut on the foot can take days longer to heal as compared to a non-smoker; in some situations, physicians may not be able to perform a surgical procedure until the patient has quit smoking for a minimum time period because smoking’s effect on healing has been proven to be so negative.

This can become an even more serious problem in a person with Diabetes who may not notice a cut on the bottom of the foot until it has progressed to a worrisome ulcer.  Sometimes, the decreased blood-flow to the injured area can be so bad that an amputation may be required due to extreme tissue infection and death.

There are many steps that can be taken to improve your chances of successful healing from a simple cut or cold, to surgery for a broken ankle.  Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps that you can take to improve not only your chances of proper healing, but also improve your health overall.  There are many options becoming available to help people who are ready to quit smoking, and we are here to help.  If you have Diabetes, PAD, or other problems with circulation to your feet and are ready to quit smoking, or would like to get more information of what we can do to help when you are ready to quit smoking, please contact us.  We are ready to listen to your special situation and help you to keep your feet as healthy and happy as we can.

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