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Smoking and Kidney Disease

There are several studies linking smoking to the appearance (and in fact the appearance of CKD in the general population, e.g. to people without a risk factor for nephropathy) but also to the development of preexisting CKD. There is a greater impact in patients suffering from diabetic nephropathy or renal disease due to high blood pressure.

How does smoking affect kidney function?

The various mechanisms by which smoking exerts its adverse effects on renal function and exacerbate renal impairment are:

- Increased blood pressure

- Reduction of renal perfusion

- Increased production of various hormones that accelerate renal damage

In addition, smoking causes chronic kidney damage since:

- It narrows the blood vessels that bleed the kidneys as well as the small vessels in the kidneys

- Tobacco contains over 3000 to 4000 particles and gases, many of which are nephrotoxic on their own

- There are heavy metals in tobacco smoke

- The oxidative stress created directly causes kidney damage

- It reduces glomerular filtration rate over time

Is smoking related to the onset of CKD or its aggravation?

It is associated with its appearance and evolution. Tobacco smoke can even damage healthy kidneys without pre-existing kidney disease. In fact, this negative effect is also related to the number of cigarettes that individuals smoke. There has been a direct and independent association of tobacco with albuminuria (or proteinuria) incidence, a finding that links smoking with permanent renal damage. For every 5 cigarettes a person smokes per day, there is a relative risk of 30% for creatinine increase by 0.3 mg / dl over the next 3 years.

I suffer from CKD. Is smoking related to this?

Yes, as it accelerates renal damage and at the same time greatly increases cardiovascular risk (acute myocardial infarction, stroke) but also peripheral arterial occlusion.

I undergo dialysis. Is smoking related to this?

Smoking for dialysis patients greatly increases cardiovascular risk. It is an independent risk factor for calcification and hardening of the vessels, that is, only its existence can increase all the above risks, regardless of other known risk factors (diabetes mellitus, hypertension etc). It is also associated with emerging cardiac failure and emerging peripheral vascular obstructive disease.

Is quitting smoking beneficial for me as far CKD is concerned?

Naturally, in addition to the known benefits of stopping smoking for lung diseases, heart disease, etc., evidence suggests that quitting smoking causes a slowdown in CKD, reducing the rate of creatinine growth, and reducing the amount of albumin (as a risk factor).

What are the next steps;

Consult your doctor and decide to quit smoking. This is the first important step. Then with your doctor you will find the proper way for you to get rid of this harmful habit.


By the Scientific Director Aristides Paraskevopoulos



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