Tobacco products such as pipes, cigars, and cigarettes can all damage your lungs. Each year, on the third Thursday in November, we observe the Great American Smokeout, which encourages smokers to quit for an entire day. So in today’s post, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing information regarding some deadly foot conditions that are worsened by smoking.
Many smokers don't understand that their tobacco use damages more than just their lungs - it can tear down the tissues in the lower limbs and diminish blood flow. Because of this, podiatrists treat thousands of patients who smoke yearly for various ankle and foot issues.
One of the most serious complications smokers experience is diminished circulation. Because it constricts the blood vessels, smoking makes it more difficult for your heart to pump blood throughout the body.
And because the feet and hands are located farthest away from the heart, they don't receive as much circulation as other areas of the body, which affects touch sensation and makes it more difficult for wounds to heal. Smoking also seriously diminishes the body’s ability to soak up oxygen not only in the lungs, but in the entire body.
Smokers are at a higher risk for complications such as the following.
Osteoporosis: Smoking weakens the growth of healthy tissue, which causes the continual breakdown of bones, commonly known as osteoporosis. If your bones are unable to develop new tissue, they become weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to fracture.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). If you experience persistent sores on your feet that refuse to heal or leg pain, you may have peripheral arterial disease. Smoking tobacco causes plaque to accumulate in the arteries, which stiffens the arterial walls and narrows the blood vessels. Smokers have been shown to experience PAD four times more likely than non-smokers.
Raynaud's disease. This is a painful condition caused when the blood vessels in the extremity spasm. Patients with Raynaud’s may have pale feet with blue or white toes, and their feet may be numb or cold. Cigarette smoking can trigger and worsen symptoms of this condition.
Whether you have continuing toenail or skin conditions or need immediate treatment for an injury, contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, today. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.