According to the American Heart Association, 22 percent of diabetic Americans are smokers. While many people realize that smoking is bad for overall health, the minority of Americans realize that habitual smoking drastically increases the chances of developing diabetes. Diabetics who smoke also increase their risk of complications related to the disease.
At US Neuropathy Centers, we care about the health and safety of our patients. We aim to provide only the best, safest, and most effective treatment options. With locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, US Neuropathy Centers has the best options for managing nerve pain.
Researchers from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland conducted a study in 2007 and found that smokers are 44 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers. One of the main concerns coming out of this study, and studies that have followed, regarded the diabetic foot.
We encourage all of our patients to quit smoking as a way to eradicate bad habits and live healthier lives. Smoking is linked to an array of health problems, and diabetic foot neuropathy is no exception. Here are the top five concerns for smokers and potential diabetic foot complications.
1. Smoking leads to nerve problems. According to experts, a diabetic smoker is twice as likely to develop diabetic neuropathy compared to non-smokers. While the exact reason why smoking increases the risk of diabetic neuropathy is unclear, some physicians believe that because smoking restricts blood flow and circulation, an ischemic injury results to the extremities.
2. Smoking dries the skin. Blood and oxygen flow is greatly reduced from inhaling nicotine. This results in dry, flaky skin that is susceptible to stress. Bacteria and fungus is better able to get into the skin through dry skin and cracked heels.
3. Smoking causes blood clots. Smoking can cause blood clot formation, which further complicates the narrowing of a blood vessel. This development can worsen foot ulcers, lead to blood vessel disease, and cause leg and foot infections.
4. Smoking increases your chances of an ulcer. 15.8 percent of smokers with diabetes have a foot ulcer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
5. Smoking delays healing. Cigarette smoke and nicotine inhalation was found to delay new tissue formation in smokers, according to one study.
The benefits of not smoking are seemingly endless. We are fortunate enough to know the risks and have the resources to help smokers quit. For more information on how smoking affects your diabetic neuropathy, contact a US Neuropathy Centers near you!
If you are suffering from neuropathy, please do not hesitate to call us at US Neuropathy Centers.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
©US Neuropathy Centers, 2018