• Stop Smoking - PAD

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    Smoking is the number one risk factor associated with P.A.D. It speeds up the build-up of plaque inside your arteries, causes blood vessels to constrict, or tighten, and contributes to blood clots 

    Several studies have found that smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day may increase the risk of P.A.D. by 30 to 50 percent. 

    Smoking seems also to make P.A.D. get worse faster, leading to reduction in walking distance, sores and gangrene and possible loss of limbs. Patients who continue to smoke after treatment for P.A.D. with  angioplasty or surgery tend to lose the benefit of the procedure sooner than those who stop smoking. Statistics show that as many as half of those who have P.A.D. and continue to smoke will have a heart attack or stroke, or will die, within five years.

    Quitting: It’s never too late 

    It’s never too late for people with P.A.D. to reap the benefits of giving up 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 foot sores, eye problems, nerve damage and kidney disease (if you have diabetes)
    • Lower risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, lungs and bladder.
    Plus, by quitting, you help protect those around you 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, really, you can. 

    Check with your doctor, health plan or a local hospital or clinic to find a program to help you quit. Or check out resources on 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 these steps:

    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 did and did not work when you tried to quit before.

    Step 2. Round up 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 trying to quit
    • 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, change your normal routines.
    • Feel the urge to light up? Don’t. Instead, distract yourself by taking a walk, playing cards, or doing something with your hands.
    • Reduce the stress. Relax in a hot bath. Take a nap. Read a book. Fall asleep in front of an old movie.
    • 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 designed to help smokers quit and handle cravings. (It’s important to check with your doctor because not all products are safe for everyone.) Among the new products 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: Don’t let tempting situations tempt you 
    • 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. Take time to treat yourself. Go for a  walk, a movie or lunch with a friend. Lounge in a hot bath.

    Many people succumb to temptation and have a cigarette during the first months after quitting. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip. Just keep your eye on the goal to quit and start back at Step 1. 

    More Information

    For more information on quitting smoking, contact or visit the Web sites of the:
    American Heart Association: 1-800-242-8721
    American Cancer Society: 1-800-282-4914
    American Lung Association: 1-800-586-4872
    National Cancer Institute: 1-800-422-6237