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World Kidney Day 2023: Expert Explains The Negative Impact Of Smoking On Your Kidneys

World Kidney Day is celebrated in 2nd Thursday of March to create awareness about the importance of keeping kidneys healthy.

World Kidney Day 2023: Expert Explains The Negative Impact Of Smoking On Your Kidneys

World Kidney Day 2023 falls on March 9

Statutory warnings keep reminding us that 'smoking is injurious to health', but on this World Kidney day, let's see how smoking affects one's kidneys. Smoking is dangerous to one's kidneys since smoking slows the flow of blood to important organs, including the kidneys, affecting their ability to filter blood. If one has a risk of kidney disease or already has kidney disease, it is an even more dangerous combination. Many research studies have shown a strong correlation between cigarette smoking in patients and the worsening of kidney-related health conditions such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), polycystic kidney disease, and post-kidney transplant. CKD especially is a growing global public health problem, with an estimated global prevalence of 8-16%. People who often smoke and breathe second-hand smoke increase their existing risk of developing health conditions that can lead to CKD or even worse.

This World Kidney Day (March 9th), several medical experts across the country are raising awareness, urging people at risk of kidney diseases, or living with existing kidney conditions; to avoid tobacco consumption or cigarette smoking before it's too late.

Smoking has multiple effects on the body. It can interfere with certain medications, especially the ones taken to manage high blood pressure. If the blood pressure is not controlled properly, it can be a leading cause of kidney disease, adding to the problem.

All such health hazards are a reason to quit smoking. But quitting can seem like an impossible task, and consulting a psychiatrist help in this, as nicotine addiction is both physical and mental. Since it is the nicotine in tobacco that causes an addiction, when nicotine consumption stops when quitting smoking, the body becomes uncomfortable and craves more, leading to withdrawal symptoms.

Many psychiatrists prescribe Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to help people quit smoking. The end goal of NRT is to continue decreasing the dose of nicotine until the patient can stop completely.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a very useful solution since it provides smokers with the intake of nicotine in a harmless way, without any toxic chemicals that come along with smoking cigarettes. NRT can significantly help slow down the damage progression of kidney-related disorders as well in the long-term. We can use a long-acting nicotine patch along with gum or lozenge in a more effective way.

As people with kidney problems progress towards quitting smoking, with NRT, they can see visible results. It decreases the risk of tobacco-related health issues with an improved quality of life.

NRT therapy is provided as patches, chewing gums, nasal sprays, inhalers, and lozenges. The patches stabilise the level of nicotine intake in the body, which can manage withdrawal symptoms. Gums are usually advised for urgent cravings. For severe cravings, a higher dose is recommended by doctors. It's important to get in touch with a healthcare provider to start the right treatment mechanism and NRT dosage.

(Dr. Mruthunjaya, Psychiatrist, S S Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre)

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