Quitting smoking has a host of benefits

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July 15, 2018 - 11:00 PM

To Your Good Health

Dear Dr. Roach: My husband is a smoker. I have begged him to quit, but he won’t. He sleeps sitting up, with his legs hanging, because he has trouble breathing. This way of sleeping causes his feet and ankles to swell. His doctor ordered diuretics and urged him to quit smoking. He also recommended that he sleep in a bed, with his legs elevated — that would help with the swelling. My husband doesn’t agree. My husband reads your column every day. Maybe you can convince him. — G.U.

Answer: Smoking is one of the hardest habits to break. Many people who have stopped using heroin have told me that quitting smoking is harder. However, anyone can do it, and he needs to.

Sleeping with the legs hanging off the bed is a serious red flag. The first thing we are taught to look for in people who demonstrate this behavior is critical blockages in the arteries of the legs. People find that they don’t have leg pain when they do this, but blockages could be so severe that urgent treatment is needed — a surgical repair or an alternative procedure, like angioplasty, where blockages are opened with a balloon.

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