Does Smoking Delay Wound Healing? . Smoking causes various kinds of problems. One among them is wound healing. The process of wound healing takes longer in case of smokers. To know why and how smoking causes problem in wound healing, refer the article.
The largest organ of our body is the skin. It is made up of three layers; viz., hair, nails, and glands. The skin acts as a giant covering because it protects the internal parts of our body from various kinds of infections.
Burns, infections, scratching, or surgery can result in wounds. The body follows a similar process to heal wounds, may it be big or small. The immune system of our body protects us from all kinds of infections and heals the wounds, too.
When we are injured, many healing factors are sent to the wound by the immune system of our body through the blood vessels to heal it. The oxygen we breathe is also sent to the wound for its healing. After the completion of the wound healing process, the new skin that has developed functions as a new covering. This new skin and/or scar tissue protects us from future injuries.
Effects of Smoking on the Wound Healing Process
The blood vessels become smaller due to smoking. These smaller blood vessels face hardship and take longer time to carry the oxygen, essential nutrients, and healing factors to the injury. Hence, the wound healing process takes longer time.
When a smoker inhales carbon monoxide, a poison from smoking, enters his blood cells. It lowers the oxygen level in his blood. Oxygen is highly required for healing wounds. So, smoking delays the process of wound healing.
Smoking also causes other kinds of problems which are delineated below:
- Smoking causes infection in the wound
- When a smoker receives a skin graft, there is every possibility that he may not receive it successfully
- Smoking causes formation of blood clots near the wound
- Smoking makes the stitches come apart. This results in scarring
- Smoking deposits mucus in the lungs. This results in suffering from frequent colds and pneumonia
- Smoking reduces the Vitamin C levels, which is essential for wound healing
- Because of all the above complications, the patient undergoes longer and an expensive stay in the hospital
You can heal your wound faster if you quit smoking. Quit smoking for at least 3 days before undergoing any kind of surgery. This helps in getting rid of all the carbon monoxide present in your blood. Once you get rid of all the carbon monoxide the oxygen level in your blood stream restores back.
Eating the right kind of food and drinking lots of fluids helps in wound healing. Try to increase the amount of protein, calories and Vitamin C by eating meats, nuts, beans, dairy products, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables. Try to drink 8 glasses of water per day. Avoiding drinks with caffeine is really beneficial for you because caffeine causes the body to lose water. Water that protects your body from becoming dry also helps healing the wound.
Try to exercise regularly. Exercise will keep you healthy and will help your immune system to fight against all kinds of infections.