Although smoking’s ill effects on the lungs and heart are well known, it can be equally harmful to the feet. James Mahoney, associate professor of podiatric surgery at Des Moines University, can sometimes tell whether a person smokes or not just by the condition of their feet, which are often reddish and thin skinned. Because feet are so far away from the heart, under optimal conditions they don’t receive as much blood circulation as the rest of your body. However, smoking raises the risk of peripheral artery disease, which further limits circulation and harms the feet even more.
As James Mahoney points out, poor circulation in the feet can be serious and detrimental to your health. If you notice that your feet are often reddish and thin skinned, as Mahoney explained, it is recommended to seek the care of a podiatrist, like Dr. Bruce Theall of Gentle Touch Foot Care. Dr. Theall will determine whether or not you suffer from poor circulation in your feet and provide treatment options for you.
What is Poor Circulation?
Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is the result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque buildup or atherosclerosis results from excess calcium and cholesterol in the bloodstream. It usually restricts the amount of blood which can flow through the arteries. Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs is sometimes caused by inflammation in the blood vessels, known as vasculitis.
Lack of oxygen and oxygen from poor blood circulation restricts muscle growth and development.
It can also cause:
- Muscle pain
- Numbness in legs
- Skin discoloration
- Slower nail & hair growth
- Erectile dysfunction
Those who have diabetes and or smoke are at greatest risk for poor circulation, or people who are over 50.
If you have poor circulation in the feet and legs it may be caused by PAD, and is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle will dramatically improve conditions. As always, see a doctor as they will help try and fit a regime that suits you. A doctor will also prescribe you medication which will help with PAD.
If you have any questions, please feel free to visit our video library or contact our office located in East Orange, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.