Legs Unveiled: Dr. Luigi Exposes the Hidden Impact of Tobacco

Every year on May 31st, the world commemorates World No Tobacco Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the detrimental consequences of tobacco smoking and pushing for effective tobacco-reduction measures. Tragically, tobacco-related diseases claim over eight million lives each year, making it the world's greatest preventable cause of death.

Tobacco and peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a disorder in which the arteries that provide blood to the legs thin or clog, affecting over 200 million individuals globally. Tobacco use contributes significantly to the onset of PAD. It affects the inner lining of blood arteries, causing constriction and decreased blood flow. Furthermore, smoking causes blood clots, worsening the condition.

The Impact on Your Ankles

Cigarettes contain nicotine, which reduces blood supply to bones and spinal discs while also degrading estrogen, which is necessary for bone health. This makes joints prone to fractures.

Tobacco and Vascular Disease

While the relationship between smoking and arterial disease is widely recognized, the influence on leg veins receives less attention. Smoking can cause soreness, edema, and redness in the legs. More worryingly, if a clot dislodges and gets to the lungs, it might cause serious complications. Smoking raises the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) because it promotes clot formation and impairs blood vessel function.

Varicose veins, which appear as twisted, bulging veins on the legs and feet, are another source of concern. Though the specific causes are unknown, smoking is a known risk factor for weakening venous valves and reducing their function.

Tobacco, Wound Healing

Wound healing is a complex process that requires a healthy blood flow to transfer oxygen and nutrients to the afflicted areas. Smoking impedes this by decreasing blood flow and oxygen availability while weakening the immune system. For those with disorders that already impair blood flow, such as diabetic foot ulcers, smoking can greatly extend healing durations, increasing the risk of complications and even amputation.

Adopting A Healthier Lifestyle

Consider the following measures to reduce the consequences of "smoker's leg":

Quit Smoking: Smoking is the most significant risk factor for PAD. Stopping this habit can help delay the course of PAD and decrease consequences.
Engage in Regular Physical Activity: Consult your doctor for appropriate exercises. Activities such as leg exercises, walking, and treadmill workouts can help with symptoms.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight heightens the risk of smoker's leg.
Eat a balanced diet: A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in cholesterol and trans fats can assist to control cholesterol levels.
When should I see a doctor?

Seek medical attention if you are experiencing:

Symptoms may include leg pain or numbness while walking, pale or colorless limbs, and a weak or absent pulse.
Symptoms of PAD and above 50 years old
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