That Next Cigarette Can Cost You a Leg

Lung Cancer. High Blood Pressure. Addiction. Asthma. Still Birth. This is what most people talk about when discussing the health effects of smoking.

It’s not often they tell you that you can lose a leg. But it’s a risk we need to talk about.

Smoking cigarettes can result in your arteries being blocked.

Poor circulation can result in less oxygen getting to your tissues.

Without proper oxygen, your tissues can slowly die, resulting in gangrene.

What happens next? You can lose a toe, a leg or another part of your body.

gangrene-smoking-hand-1

Having low circulation is extremely painful physically and emotionally.

Recall that painful sensation when your leg fell asleep and it’s just starting to regain feeling– that horrible pain many associate with a million needles prickling your skin. Multiple that by ten. Now imagine that pain never going away. Each step feeling like you are stepping on shattered glass with a bare foot. Or a thousand small knives stabbing you.

gangrene-crying-man-2

Once you start to develop gangrene it’s even more painful. The pain never stops. No position makes you feel better. No over-the-counter pain killer will make sleeping easier. Some doctors say that once your vascular disease reaches a certain point, even the strongest prescription medication won’t lessen the miserable pain.

With gangrene, parts of your body decompose. It smells like it too. Showers don’t help. Changing the dressing covering your dying flesh is painful, but only helps with the smell for a few minutes, hours if you’re lucky. Smoking constricts blood vessels to the point of strangulation. Your body can’t breath, and if left untreated, a day will quickly arrive when you won’t breath either.

gangrene-wheelchair-smoker-3

What’s next is an amputation. That’s if you’re lucky enough to have your cardiologist approve the anesthesia required for the surgery. If you have clogged arteries due to smoking, chances are you have heart issues as well. Chances are you won’t get approval for the surgery and you will need to resort to “making the patient as comfortable as possible” as you wait for your dead flesh to fall off on its own.

Please don’t smoke.

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