Smokers and former smokers should immediately begin to implement a healthier lifestyle and change any other behaviors that might be damaging their health.
Everyone should maintain a healthy diet, with foods rich in whole grains and fruits and vegetables (particularly dark colored ones). Avoid saturated fats and instead choose monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive oil or fats from oily fish. Two Studies have indicated that eating fish more than twice a week might help limit the tobacco damage in people who do not smoke more than a pack and a half a day.
Women who are pregnant and continue to smoke must be sure to take appropriate vitamins, particularly folic acid. In this way, they might reduce the increased risk of fetal injury and death, although they do not eliminate that risk.
Regular exercise reduces a smoker's risk of heart disease (although still not to the level of a nonsmoker). Exercise does not lower a smoker's risk for lung cancer or emphysema.
If you smoke, you should be screened for any smoking-related disorders. Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly. Women should have annual Pap smears to detect cervical cancer. All older adults should be screened for colon cancer. Computed tomography (CT) screening programs, which are becoming increasingly available, may detect lung cancer at an early stage. Ask your health care provider if you should have this test, and if your insurance will cover it.
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