Put Out the Smoke and Heal Your Wounds

Put Out the SmokeIt’s that time of year again. The time to make resolutions and try our best to keep them. Many people set personal goals of losing weight, spending more time with family, or eating better. Another popular New Year resolution for many is to quit smoking. Keeping resolutions is oftentimes difficult for many people, life gets busy and we resort back to our old ways. We all know there are numerous health risks of smoking, but did you realize that if you are a smoker and you have chronic wounds you could be prolonging the healing process. Make this year, the year you finally stop smoking for good!

Today in 2015, there should be no question that tobacco use is one of the worst things you can do to your body. There have been hundreds of scientific studies. This subject is extremely well documented.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alone:
• Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body.
• Smoking causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general.
• Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S. That’s about one in five deaths.
• Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
• Blockages caused by smoking can also reduce blood flow to your legs and skin.
• Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower. This makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up. Clots also form.

The bullet points go on, but we can already see the connection between smoking and poor wound healing.

healing. Essentially, healing depends on the body’s ability to transport freshly oxygenated blood and nutrients to and from a wound site. If you’re smoking, you are basically de-oxygenating your blood and robbing the wound site of the oxygen it needs to heal. Worse, you’re replacing the fresh oxygen you would normally be breathing with a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, of which hundreds are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer.

How Smoking Impairs the Body’s Ability to Heal Wounds
Nutritionally, smokers tend to eat less healthfully, do fewer physical activities and consume more alcohol. All of these have an adverse effect on wound healing.

First, the body needs tremendous amounts of energy/calories to heal wounds. But since nicotine is a proven appetite suppressant, smokers have an increased potential to take in fewer calories, resulting in delayed or impaired wound healing.

The full physical effects from the newer e-cigarettes are not known, though the liquid nicotine they feature is certainly a poison and can be lethal. It can be harmful when inhaled and it can also be harmful when ingested or absorbed through the skin. In fact, less than one tablespoon of the e-cigarette liquid on the market may be enough to kill an adult, and as little as a teaspoon could kill a child.

And although liquid nicotine’s effects on wound healing are unclear at this time, the CDC is clear about nicotine dependence. Nicotine is the drug in tobacco products that produces dependence and most smokers are dependent on nicotine.

As wound care professionals, we must continue to educate our patients about the connection between smoking and poor wound healing. Smoking can either cause or exacerbate the five underlying conditions that inhibit wounds from healing: poor circulation, infection, edema, poor nutrition and repetitive trauma.

Are you suffering from a wound, or have you recently had a surgical procedure and require specialized wound care? Proper wound care supplies and techniques are essential to reduce the chance of infection and improve healing. With Acute Wound Care, your treatment plan will include the best clinical practices, supplies and equipment for successful wound cleaning, management, dressing, and healing. Having support, someone to encourage you to quit smoking and who can reinforce the benefits of stopping is important and can make a big difference in your wound healing and your overall health. Call  today for a free consultation.

For more information and articles on this topic, Google “Acute Wound Care” or visit www.AcuteWoundCare.com or call 239-949-4412 and speak with a specialist.

Check Also

Ellen Hofmann, pictured with her husband Gerhard, enjoys an active lifestyle following carotid artery surgery and minimally invasive heart valve surgery with Venice Regional’s heart team.

Venice Woman Regains Active Lifestyle After Carotid, Heart Valve Surgeries

By Heidi Smith, Contributor Ellen Hofmann already knew she had a heart condition, so when …