Smoking is a primary risk factor for renal artery disease. It speeds up the buildup of plaque inside your arteries, causes blood vessels to constrict, or tighten, and contributes to clotting.
The benefits of quitting
It’s never too late for people with renal artery disease to reap the benefits of quitting smoking. In addition to lowering your risk of heart attack or stroke and increasing the possibility of a longer life, other benefits include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Easier breathing, less coughing and shortness of breath
- Reduced risk of kidney disease (if you have diabetes), as well as heart attack, stroke and other potentially debilitating conditions.
- Lower risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, lungs and bladder.
Plus, by quitting, you help protect those around you, including children and grandchildren, from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
You CAN Quit – For Good
Millions of people who have smoked for years – and who thought they could NEVER quit – have quit for good. So, even though you may think there’s no way you can quit, it’s very likely that, in fact, you can quit.
Check with your doctor, health plan or a local hospital or clinic to find a program to help you quit. Or check out the Web for guidance and support. Smokefree.gov is a site that offers assistance. Its sponsors include the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In general, smokers increase their ability to quit for good if they follow the five steps below:
Step 1. Get ready to quit.
- Set a quit date – within the next 30 days and mark it on your calendar.
- Throw away all cigarettes and ash trays at home, at work and in the car.
- Write down your reasons for quitting – and keep your list where you will see it every day.
- Think about what worked and what didn’t work when you tried to quit before.
Step 2. Get support.
- Tell your family, friends and co-workers you’re going to quit and you want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out.
- Tell your doctor about your decision and ask for help and support.
- Get counseling. Studies show that the more counseling – one-on-one, in a group or by telephone – the better the success when quitting smoking. Contact a local hospital or the health department about counseling programs in your area.
Step 3: Learn new skills and behaviors
- Break the pattern. Over the first few weeks after you quit smoking, change your normal routines.
- Feel the urge to light up? Distract yourself by going for a walk, picking up the knitting needles or finding something to do with your hands.
- Reduce the stress. Relax in a hot bath, play with your kids or grandkids, go for a walk or read a book.
- Drink plenty of water and other low- and no-calorie fluids.
Step 4: Check out medicines to help you quit
Talk with your health care provider about whether you should try new medicines to help you quit and handle cravings. Among the new products, which may not be safe for everyone, are:
- Gum, hard candies, patches and other products containing a small amount of nicotine that can be purchased without a prescription
- Products with nicotine, such as nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays
- Medications that do not contain nicotine but work to reduce cravings for it.
Step 5: Get ready to recognize and handle for tempting situations
- Steer clear of places where others are smoking.
- Avoid beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks. Try soda or ice water with lemon or lime.
- Don’t worry if you gain weight. Eat a healthy diet and stay active, keeping your focus on quitting smoking.
- If you feel down or depressed, do something good for YOU. Go for a walk, a movie or lunch with a friend. Go shopping and find something for yourself. Lounge in a hot bath.
Many people trying to quit smoking slip up during the first months after quitting. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip and have a cigarette. Just keep your eye on the goal to quit and start back at step 1.
For more information on quitting smoking, contact or visit the Web sites of the: