The Vascular System, Vaping and Foot Health
Vaping as a popular trend began a few years ago and there is still a lot about the short term and long term effects of the use of e-cigarettes we don't know. Although some data may be inclusive the number of incidents, problems and deaths associated with vaping is on the rise and the scientific community is already seeing the harmful effects of e-cigarettes on the body. As expected the effects of vaping are most notable in disorders involving the respiratory system. However the effects of vaping, even with the use of nicotine-free products, are damaging to the vascular system as well. The Laboratory for Structural, Physiological and Functional Imaging at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine examined vascular function following the use of of nicotine-free vaping and e-cigarette products. The study reported that components within the liquids vaporized in these products are significant irritants that can cause vascular inflammation as well as other effects. These effects may be subtle at first and almost imperceptible to the to e-cigarette user however consistent and repetitive inhaled vaporized irritants has the potential of compromising blood vessels and causing long-term vascular problems. A study at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania found vaping just once can change the way blood flows in a major artery that supplies blood to your legs.
As a podiatric physician and surgeon I am keenly aware of the importance of reactive and healthy blood vessels that can carry good nutrition and oxygen rich blood flow to the lower extremities. Changes to vascular function and blood flow impact wound healing and can create or contribute to complications in the treatment of infections and slow healing or non-healing wounds and ulcerations of the foot and ankle or injuries such as fractures, tendon or muscle tears. This is especially critical in patients who are at risk for diabetes contributing to compromised circulation and neuropathy and loss of limb. As well as those at risk for PAD (peripheral artery disease) and athletes and fitness patients who are relying on good circulation to assist in the recovery from an accident or injury and return to full performance or activity.