Wednesday, 21 June 2017 00:00

Quit Smoking Now to Improve Foot Health

 

Any former smoker will tell you that quitting isn’t easy. Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM know that giving up cigarettes is a challenge, but they encourage you to get support and quit smoking today. Tobacco use is dangerous for your heart and your lungs and can shorten your life. Less alarming, but also important is the effect of smoking on your feet: because smoking negatively affects circulation, it also puts your podiatric health at risk.

Because your hands and feet are farthest from your heart, it’s hardest for the heart to pump blood out to them. Consequently, they don't receive as much circulation as other parts of your body. This lower blood flow is why they’re often cold. This situation is common in people of both genders and all ages. It’s especially prevalent among smokers, as smoking further diminishes blood flow.

Podiatrists can easily tell which of their patients are smokers. The tip off is the skin on their feet, which is often thinner, shinier, and redder than that of other patients. Recovery from surgery is another clue: it typically takes smokers longer to heal than non-smokers.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) occurs when plaque builds up in arteries, causing them to become stiff and narrow. It becomes difficult for blood to circulate, especially to the extremities. If you smoke, your risk of developing PAD is four times greater than if you don't. Continuing to smoke after a diabetes diagnosis puts you at particular risk.

Symptoms: Be on the lookout for leg pain and for sores or injuries on your feet that heal poorly, or not at all.

Buerger’s Disease

Buerger’s Disease causes blood vessels in the arms and legs to swell, interfering with blood flow and causing clots, pain, tissue damage, or gangrene. Almost everyone with the condition is a current or former smoker. The risk is highest for people who smoke more than a pack a day.

Symptoms: You should see your podiatrist right away if your feet become pale, red, blue, cold, or uncomfortable, if you experience pain in the arch of your foot when walking, or if there are painful sores or ulcers on your feet.

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s Disease is a condition in which the blood vessels of the hands and feet spasm and overreact to chilly temperatures. This is temporary, but can be uncomfortable. Cigarette smoking causes and worsens Raynaud’s Disease.

Symptoms: Cold, pale feet. White or blue toes.

Quitting is easier now than ever before, with new medications to help you. Until you’re ready to take that step, regular visits to the podiatrist are especially important. Call 443-872-7052 or click here to make a convenient appointment to see Dr. Boris Abramov and Dr. Tatyana Abramova in our Pikesville today.