Smoking is a hazardous habit that damages your entire body, even your feet. That’s why the American Cancer Society promotes the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of every November to encourage smokers to give up smoking for an entire day. So, in today’s post, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center are sharing ways that smoking negatively affects your feet.
If you suffer from diabetes, smoking is even riskier, as it takes an extreme toll on your circulatory system and heart health. And both diabetes and smoking can affect your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can even make it challenging to regulate your blood sugar levels, which can accelerate diabetic complications.
Following are three new risks that are associated with smoking, whether or not you have diabetes.
- Peripheral Arterial Disease: As mentioned earlier, smoking can affect your circulation; in fact, it damages your blood vessels and tightens the remaining healthy ones, as well. People living with diabetes are already facing challenges to their circulation, so when they smoke, their circulatory risks increase dramatically, and that means reduced blood flow to your feet. This reduction can diminish your body’s capacity to heal wounds. That, together with an increased risk of neuropathy risk, will take patients longer to identify foot wounds and even longer to mend them.
- Bad News for Broken Bones: If you smoke, whether or not you are diabetic, it creates huge problems for your bone health. Studies indicate that smoking negatively affects your circulatory system. Breathing in nicotine and carbon monoxide delays your body’s ability to develop new bones. This can increase your risk of broken bones in the ankles and feet. So, if your foot is fractured, it will take longer to heal, and you’ll be sidelined for a lot longer.
- Peripheral Neuropathy: Because high blood sugar levels can harm your nerves, patients with diabetes are at a higher risk for peripheral neuropathy. The nerve damage affects your extremities, decreasing or completely eliminating the feeling in your feet. When this happens, you may not see small wounds on your feet, which can elevate your risk for ulcers and, in some cases, even amputations.
If you smoke and have diabetes, reach out to the experienced team at Greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. Click here to locate contact information for the office nearest you.
And if you or a loved one smokes, think about joining the Smokeout movement, and take the first step toward quitting forever!