What has caused me to have heart or vascular disease, such as disease in the arteries of my neck or the arteries in my leg?

human heart posterior view

Usually atherosclerosis is the cause of the problem. Atherosclerosis is hardening of the arteries which is caused by five major risk factors which include: high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, and your family tendencies toward development of atherosclerosis, meaning genetics. Each of these factors can be controlled, except for the genetic problem. We recommend that your blood pressure be maintained by your primary care physician, diabetes kept under good control with a good diet and medications as needed, your cholesterol be checked frequently and kept under control with medications, if needed, as well as a healthy diet, and smoking, of course, should be discontinued.

There are programs that assist people to stop smoking such as Nicotine patches or Nicotine gum, acupuncture, or even hypnosis. However, the single best way to stop smoking is to convince yourself that it is a good thing to do for yourself and to avoid any temptation to smoke when you normally would smoke such as after meals. Plan on doing something different to change your lifestyle so the craving to smoke is diminished. Of course, you will want your family members to also stop smoking, as it is difficult to stop smoking in a house where others smoke.

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