Many states, including Delaware, have passed laws prohibiting smoking in public and in workplaces. How bad is this habit for your health? The National Institutes of Health says it causes about 1 in every 5 deaths in the United States each year! You may know the facts about its effect on heart, lungs, and blood pressure, but tobacco use affects every part of your body—even your feet—because it contributes to poor circulation.
The health of your feet depends on your body getting nutrients needed for cell growth and antibodies to fight infection to every part of your foot. This is especially true if you have diabetes, where sores can quickly develop into ulcers if they are not noticed or properly treated. When your blood flow is compromised, your body is less able to heal itself.
Tobacco products contain chemicals that can harm your blood cells and damage the structure of blood vessel walls. Smoking reduces the supply of oxygen in your blood, too. Together, these effects lead to poor circulation in your feet and slow the healing process. Unfortunately, secondhand smoke from burning cigarettes, cigars, and pipes—or even from an exhaling smoker—contains the same chemicals, so you don’t even have to smoke yourself to be affected.
When sores on your feet don’t heal quickly, the chance of infection increases. If it becomes serious, gangrene (dying tissue) can set in. Although Advanced Foot & Ankle Center does great work with limb salvage teams, sometimes amputation is the only way to save a limb—or a life.
The solution? Don’t smoke. If you do, quit. Avoid places where you will be exposed to secondhand smoke as much as possible, too. For help to quit smoking, the Delaware Division of Public Health has a hotline and cessation resources available. If you have already have foot problems resulting from your habit or diabetes, let Advanced Foot & Ankle Center help. We offer expert diabetic wound care at our offices in Newark, Glasgow, and Wilmington, Delaware. Call (302) 623-4250 for an appointment today.
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