Statistics from studies across the world have shown that people with Diabetes who smoke have a 30-40 per cent higher chance of foot-related complications.Why smoking is bad for youThe effect of nicotine in cigarettes on the cardiovascular system has now been conclusively established. The cardiovascular system comprises the heart and the blood vessels that flow to and from the heart. The nicotine in cigarettes causes multiple damages to the blood flow and the lining of the blood vessels. Long-term smoking slows down the blood flow and damages the inner lining of the blood vessels causing the fatty material in the blood to stick to the walls, which gradually becomes the 'atherosclerotic plaque', that causes narrowing of the lumen through which the blood flows and reduces the blood supply to the affected vessel. To give an example, the vessels that flow to the lower limbs gradually start narrowing, reducing the blood flow to our feet thereby causing permanent damage to the ability to use our feet.How smoking affects your feetIn this article, we are going to look at the damaging effects of smoking on the feet in people with Diabetes. Feet are affected in long-standing and uncontrolled Diabetes with serious complications like poor healing wounds, infections, pus formations, gangrene, and cellulitis leading toamputation of the affected foot. This permanent disability not only takes away the quality of life but also causes severe damage to the economic and constructive ability of the individual. Many a time, cellulitis and gangrene can become fatal. The feet are affected because Diabetes per se causes damage to the nerves that take away their ability to feel pain and wounds go unnoticed till they fester.Diabetes also causes damage to the small blood vessels that flow to the feet affecting the healing process of the wounds on the feet. The quality of skin and muscles of the feet becomes poor in Diabetes. The high sugar level in blood is an open invitation to virulent bacterial organisms to continue to grow and cause serious infections, sometimes even spreading in blood and causing damage to other organs of the body. All this make the feet vulnerable to infections, which may end up in amputations, and can be life-threatening and cause septicaemia and death.Smoking adds insult to iniuryThe more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your risk for Type 2 Diabetes. No matter what type of Diabetes you have, smoking makes your Diabetes harder to control.Smokers with Diabetes have poor blood flow in the legs and feet that can lead to infections, ulcers, and possible amputation (removal of a body part by surgery, such as the toes or feet). People with Diabetes who smoke have higher blood sugar levels and less control over their blood sugar levelsthan non-smokers with Diabetes. It has now been documented that smokers have higher insulin resistance. This can spell the death-knell for people who have infections and need to be put on insulin to bring down blood sugar levels to control infections. Even those who do not have infections may need insulin to control haywire blood sugar levels. In such dire situations, smokers with Diabetes become poor responders to treatment.Complete cessation of smoking is the only way the harmful effects can be curbed and quality of life improved. Addiction to smoking is a hard-fought battle, but one must resolve to do it considering the damage it does to an already diseased body.To concludeDiabetes affects their normal functioning gradually making them vulnerable to infections and injury often leading to a handicapped existence. Smoking only ensures that this happens. We need to take care of our feet as much as we take care of our hearts. Keeping Diabetes in check with proper treatment assures us a good and long life. It is important to take care of your feet. This will help prevent any foot related complications.