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Does quitting smoking help in treatment of atherosclerosis?

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Posted on Mon, 20 Oct 2014
Question: Hello...I am a tall 69 year old male, not obese, excellent cholesterol numbers (under 200 mg.) and BP (118/57 - controlled)...
2 years ago, I was diagnosed with claudication and a moderate blockage in left femoral artery. I began walking and now walk a minimum of 4 times a week briskly for about 40 minutes each time. The pain has lessened and I can walk longer distances now. I had arterial ultrasound 2 years ago, and all is clean except for mild presence of atherosclerosis in right leg - same location as left one. Carotid is fine as is lower aorta and brain. I had an ecg two weeks ago and it is fine too. Also had an echogram of heart 2 years ago, and that is fine with exception of tiny leak in aortic valve. I am married and we eat what is recommended in Dr. XXXXXXX Fuhrman's book and NO beef etc. But I still smoke about 25 cigarettes per day and am struggling with it big time. Once I stop smoking, what type of outlook can I expect? Or is this all the start of the end? I am pretty discouraged and scared right now. I take Lipitor 40 mg, baby aspirin, Omega 3 fish oil and COQ10 daily. We cook with olive oil or coconut oil. Can you help with my anxiety? I want to be able to not worry as much as I am.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Set your goal to stop smoking...

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

I have gone through your medical history carefully and understood your concerns.

You are reporting a personal history of atherosclerosis, for which your doctor put you on Lipitor, baby aspirin, omega 3 fish oil and COQ10 on daily basis.

Apart such medications and anti-oxidants, it is necessary to follow a healthy diet regimen. I am glad to hear that you are cooking with olive oil or coconut oil and trying to eat healthy. That's great.

What disappoints me is the fact that you are still SMOKING 25 cigarettes/day. This is too much for your atherosclerosis, and for all your problems.

Smoking will neutralize the good effects of medications and antioxidants you are taking, thus, you won't get enough benefits. So, think it over to stop smoking. It will be difficult for you at first days after stopping, but, if you are determined you will go through this tough period.

Once you stop smoking, you will see great improvements in your health: you'll feel more energetic, and no problem with atherosclerosis. Such improvement will take some time to set; once set, these effects are life-long.

There is nothing to be worries in here. You should set your mind and decide to stop smoking. You are doing fine until now with exercise and other diet changes. Once again, that is perfect. You need more determination to stop smoking.

Anxiety is part of human beings. It is that signal that makes us react to various situations. By passing of time, people get more prone to anxiety. For patients of your age, I recommend to use herbal supplements containing aloe vera, chamomile, valeriana, etc. that will help relax and sleep better. I advise to take it as a supplement (pill) or tea at bedtime.

Avoiding caffeinated drinks, alcohol and stopping tobacco will also help control anxiety and get more relaxed.

You are already doing physical activity. I advise to choose open-air places where you can breathe fresh air, which will also help control your anxiety.

All the best!
Dr.Albana
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Albana Sejdini (14 minutes later)
I know....about the smoking...I am trying doctor...I sleep well as it is....the exercise is always outdoors... Thank you doctor....I feel better....it will take me 12 weeks to stop smoking...can atherosclerosis be stopped or delayed?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini (8 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Its progression might be stopped...

Detailed Answer:
Hi back,

Thank you for following up. During these 12 weeks, there might be no more progression of atherosclerosis. At least, you'll achieve to stop its progression, so no more bad effects. Then, it will take more time to clear it although difficult.

I encourage to continue following the healthy life as you are trying now.

All the best!
Dr.Albana
Do not forget to close this discussion if no more queries!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Albana Sejdini

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2006

Answered : 6817 Questions

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Does quitting smoking help in treatment of atherosclerosis?

Brief Answer: Set your goal to stop smoking... Detailed Answer: Hi, I have gone through your medical history carefully and understood your concerns. You are reporting a personal history of atherosclerosis, for which your doctor put you on Lipitor, baby aspirin, omega 3 fish oil and COQ10 on daily basis. Apart such medications and anti-oxidants, it is necessary to follow a healthy diet regimen. I am glad to hear that you are cooking with olive oil or coconut oil and trying to eat healthy. That's great. What disappoints me is the fact that you are still SMOKING 25 cigarettes/day. This is too much for your atherosclerosis, and for all your problems. Smoking will neutralize the good effects of medications and antioxidants you are taking, thus, you won't get enough benefits. So, think it over to stop smoking. It will be difficult for you at first days after stopping, but, if you are determined you will go through this tough period. Once you stop smoking, you will see great improvements in your health: you'll feel more energetic, and no problem with atherosclerosis. Such improvement will take some time to set; once set, these effects are life-long. There is nothing to be worries in here. You should set your mind and decide to stop smoking. You are doing fine until now with exercise and other diet changes. Once again, that is perfect. You need more determination to stop smoking. Anxiety is part of human beings. It is that signal that makes us react to various situations. By passing of time, people get more prone to anxiety. For patients of your age, I recommend to use herbal supplements containing aloe vera, chamomile, valeriana, etc. that will help relax and sleep better. I advise to take it as a supplement (pill) or tea at bedtime. Avoiding caffeinated drinks, alcohol and stopping tobacco will also help control anxiety and get more relaxed. You are already doing physical activity. I advise to choose open-air places where you can breathe fresh air, which will also help control your anxiety. All the best! Dr.Albana