Why Your Feet Need You to Quit Smoking
Any way you slice it, smoking’s just not good for you. We already know that smoking is detrimental to your heart and lung health, but the nasty habit can also wreak havoc on your feet. Just another reason to quit smoking.
Tissues of the body require oxygen to remain healthy and viable, as well as to heal adequately from injury. Hemoglobin is a molecule that carries oxygen throughout the body, but in smokers this molecule can’t carry as much oxygen as needed to adequately oxygenate the body. Smoking also causes tiny blood vessels in the body to constrict and become narrow. Blood becomes thicker in smokers as well, and with the combination of constricted vessels, frequently results in poor blood flow and circulation. What does all this mean for your feet?
Smoking causes an increased risk of blood clotting in the legs, along with peripheral arterial disease. PAD causes changes in sensation, like tingling and numbness, as well as inability to feel pain in the feet. Minor scrapes, cuts, blisters or other seemingly harmless injuries to the foot can lead to serious infection due to the body’s decreased ability to send adequate blood flow to the affected area.
In addition to PAD, smoking can cause calluses and cracks in the feet! Surprised? This is because smoking breaks down a protein in the skin called elastin, which essentially dries out skin and leaves it cracked and peeling.
If you are a smoker, it’s important to regularly see a podiatrist to make sure your feet aren’t suffering from one of these conditions. Ultimately, quitting smoking is the ideal goal, not only for your foot health, but for a longer, healthier life in general!
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