The Link between Smoking and Foot Problems
There are plenty of reasons not to smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use constantly attack all systems in your body. It stains your teeth and harms your skin, causing dryness and wrinkles. The smoke triggers asthma attacks and causes constant irritation and inflammation in your lungs that can damage them permanently. Tobacco contains chemical agents known to cause lung cancer, and heart attacks and strokes are real risks too. There is another connection often not made, and that is the relationship between smoking and foot problems.
How Tobacco Use Harms Your Feet
Even when everything is working as it should, it is harder to get the blood to and from your feet than any other part of your body, because they are the farthest from your heart. Any problems that smoking causes in other parts of your body are multiplied here.
The chemicals in tobacco can contribute to a plaque buildup in your arteries, leading to peripheral arterial disease (PAD). That means poor circulation, slower healing of injuries and sores, and weaker tissues and bones. They can also cause the walls of your blood vessels to swell up and constrict the flow of blood, a condition called Buerger’s disease that often results in clots.
Both of these conditions can cause numbness, cold feet, and pain in your legs and feet when walking. When a blockage totally cuts off circulation to parts of your feet, the tissue may begin to die and gangrene can set in, sometimes requiring amputation to save the rest of the limb—or your life.
If you have plaque in the arteries in your legs and feet, chances are it is accumulating in other parts of your body as well. That puts you at a higher risk for heart trouble or a stroke. The chemicals in tobacco products can cause also damage to the DNA of your cells, which changes the way they behave and can lead to various forms of cancer.
The Only Permanent Treatment Is to Stop Smoking
The connection between smoking and foot problems is quite clear. The solution to treat these issues is equally clear. Yes, we can do certain things to alleviate some of the symptoms, such as medications for pain or infection, exercises to improve circulation, or surgery to alleviate poor blood flow. However, none of these will be permanent as long as you keep smoking.
Nicotine is horribly addicting, but there are many programs and tips to help you conquer the habit. The sooner you do, the better your chance to recover from the damage that has been done to your body. Almost everyone needs help to quit smoking—from classes and medications to the support of family and friends.
Are You Ready to Quit?
If you are ready to stop hurting your feet and the rest of your body with tobacco use, call Aadvanced Foot Care Associates in New York for help. We can prescribe nicotine patches or sprays which will increase your chances of quitting. We can also put you in touch with organizations that could help support you in your effort to stop smoking. Plan ahead, set a date to quit, and then start making preparations. Part of that will include identifying your triggers for smoking and then avoiding those temptations.
Call our office if you have any questions about smoking and foot problems. We can check the condition of your feet and give you tips on how to care for them and increase their function if they have been damaged by tobacco use. Call Aadvanced Foot Care Associates today in Plainview, NY, at (516) 822-9595, Flushing, NY, at (718) 969-2266, or Rego Park, NY, at (718) 896-4433. You can also set up an appointment on our website.