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Smoking Can Hinder Bones from Healing

Update Date: Jan 03, 2014 10:17 AM EST
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With the New Year just starting, several studies have found even more evidence that smoking is extremely detrimental to one's health. In a recent study published in FASEB Journal, researchers reported that smoking could potentially hinder one's sleep. In a new report, orthopedic surgeons from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reminded smokers that smoking could affect how fast bones heal.

"Smoking cessation prior to any major surgery is critical not only to the success of the surgery but also to recovery and rehabilitation needed afterward," said Mario Castro, MD, director of the Washington University Center for Smoking Cessation reported by Medical Xpress. "As a lung doctor, I'm often called to see patients with complications after surgery, such as pneumonia or low oxygen levels, all because the patients didn't stop smoking ahead of time."

Surgeon Jeffrey Johnson, MD, chief of the foot and ankle service for Washington University Orthopedics, stated that even though many of his patients are not surprised to hear that smoking is bad for one's health, they are often very shocked to learn that smoking complicates bone healing. In a particular case, Barbara Feldman from Wood River was told that in order for her broken foot to heal properly, she should really consider quitting the bad habit.

"Even after the foot began to heal, it was still very painful, and it was growing out to the left. My foot was badly disfigured, and then my arch collapsed, and when I went to see Dr. Johnson, he started talking to me about smoking," Feldman said. "He said it was going to be a long process after surgery to get the foot to heal, and if I continued to smoke, it was going to slow the healing process even more. I felt like I had to choose between continuing to smoke and possibly losing my foot, so that's when I decided that I needed to quit smoking."

"Smoking increases infection rates, makes problems with wound healing more likely and also interferes with bone healing," said Johnson. "If you're a smoker and have a fracture, that break doesn't heal as fast and sometimes doesn't heal at all."

The surgeons at this hospital stated once again that smoking does not only affect certain organs, it can hurt one's entire body. The news release can be found here.

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