Smoking and wound healing
Oxygen is the basis for wound healing, and it begins at the cellular level. Smoking deprives the body of the oxygen it needs to repair wounds and build new tissue. not many people know that smoking also slows down the healing process.
Smoking harms nearly every organ in the human body and it may be the cause of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, diabetes. However, It’s important to know the dangers of smoking, especially if you are recovering from an injury, surgery or a painful back condition.
Chemicals found in cigarette smoke cause many changes to the way our body handles oxygen. Therefore, haemoglobin, a molecule that transports oxygen throughout the body, cannot carry as much oxygen as usual when it is exposed to cigarette smoke.
Smoking also narrows the blood vessels. This can slow the supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the healing wound. A wound that does not get enough oxygen and nutrients may result in a wound that does not heal.
In addition, smoking makes the blood thicker, so it doesn’t flow as easily through narrowed blood vessels. Blood thickening increases the risk for the development of blood clots in the leg, which can cause heart attacks, strokes and pulmonary embolism.
Cigarette smoking is a key risk factor for poor wound healing, with a greater risk of infection and scarring. Various chemicals – such as nicotine – are detrimental to tissue oxygenation and the immune response.
Moreover, there are many unknowns about the chemicals found in e-cigarette vapour. But most e-cigarettes contain nicotine and can slow down healing, just like regular cigarettes do.
The reduced capacity for wound repair is a particular concern in patients undergoing plastic or reconstructive surgery. Compared with nonsmokers, smokers have a higher rate of unsatisfactory healing after face-lift surgery, as well as a greater degree of complications following breast surgery.
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