Smoking can be an expensive habit, and it can end up costing you literally an arm and a leg! (Or a leg, anyhow). You may have heard of the medical condition popularly known as Smoker’s Leg, which is very serious and often horrifying and is one of the many compelling reasons to quit the habit! You can lose your leg because of it.
Smoking affects the circulation of the body, amongst other things, and causes arteriosclerosis, otherwise known as hardening of the arteries, where fat, cholesterol and other substances build up in the walls of the arteries and can eventually block them. The blockage starves the tissues of blood and oxygen, which can result in damage or tissue death. This arterial blocking is a common cause of heart attack or stroke, which smokers are much more likely to have than non-smokers. But even worse, if tissue death occurs in extremities like the limbs, that is when Smoker’s Leg can occur. Smokers can end up having to have legs amputated, due to becoming gangrenous. Gangrene starts when the tissue dies, and it dies as a result of the arteriosclerosis, when the circulation is affected, as this study shows.
This type of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is becoming more and more common, especially amongst women. The symptoms are increasing pains in the legs and painful sores and ulcers which won’t heal. If it is diagnosed early enough, it can be usually be treated before the condition becomes gangrenous. Common treatments are vascular bypass surgery, to redirect blood through another vein, or angioplasty, where a small balloon is inserted into the vein to widen it and increase blood flow. However, it is better by far not to let it get to this point by not smoking!
The accompanying picture is from a poster for an anti-smoking campaign, featuring Camel cigarettes, and the print may be too small for you to read, but it says: “I’d walk a mile for a Camel.” I preferred to use a figurative pic like this, because all the other photos I found of black, gangrenous, ulcerated legs were so horrifying!!!
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Picture courtesy of www.motifake.com