Wednesday 13th March 2019 is National Stop Smoking Day. As a physiotherapy practice that promotes a healthy lifestyle what more could we ask for, for a blog title?
It’s no secret over the years smoking has had a bad press and rightly so. Whilst cigarette packets now have images of cancerous masses and unwell patients to show the dangers of smoking, did you know one cigarette contains 5000 different chemical and up to 70 of these are known to contribute to cancer and include arsenic, ammonia and carbon monoxide. Not only does it contribute to cancer it massively contributes to your healing rate making recovery from injury/surgery a lot slower.
Nicotine is classed as a vasoconstrictor. This means it does not allow the blood vessels to open to their full potential, it constricts them. Due to this there is decreased blood flow to the area meaning a lower amount of oxygen and nutrients where your body needs them most, the injury site. In some cases nicotine makes a clotting factor in your blood even stickier meaning you have an increased risk of blood clots and tissue death.
As physiotherapists we aim to speed up the healing rate, decreasing pain and increasing function. By using certain techniques we want to encourage a better blood flow to the affected area so your body can heal. Whilst this is easily achieved within a session it is not so easily maintained at home if there is extra compromises on the body such as smoking.
It is strongly advised by all health care professionals to stop smoking to gain a healthier lifestyle. Your GP is able to give you correct advice on how to sensibly stop smoking and is able to refer you to a smoking cessation causes.
Today is the day to take the first steps to a healthier lifestyle, don’t wait until tomorrow!
Silverstien P, 1992, Smoking and Wound Healing