Smoking has been proven conclusively to cause a wide range of health problems. Tobacco users are far more likely to succumb to heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, and stroke than non-smokers. Additional health problems are also commonly caused by smoking, and some existing health problems can also be greatly exacerbated by tobacco use including several types of cancer, eye diseases, lung infections, and allergies, among others.
As dangerous as smoking is to people as a whole, it is far more dangerous for those with diabetes, both type one and type two. This is, in part, because both smoking and diabetes can lead to similar health complications. Additionally, tobacco products may make diabetes symptoms worse.
Smoking and Diabetes Related Health Problems
One reason smokers who also have diabetes may encounter health issues is because both tobacco products and diabetes deteriorate the body in similar ways. For instance, both can lead to eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts. Both also damage blood vessels and arteries over time, leading to heart disease, stroke, and other cardiopulmonary conditions. While not everyone who smokes will get these conditions, those who are also diabetic have a much higher risk. There are also many other issues which may arise for those who are diabetic and smoke.
Smoking may Lead to Type II Diabetes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking has been discovered to actually cause Type II Diabetes. Those who smoke are between 30% and 40% more likely to get the condition than those who don’t, when comparing individuals with similar dietary habits. Among those who are already diabetic, smoking also makes the condition much harder to control.
Use of tobacco products raises blood sugar levels. In those who already have problems controlling their blood sugar, this can be detrimental. Not only that, but smoking may also make the body less responsive to insulin, so those who are currently taking insulin may have to increase their dosage. Smoking makes diabetes increasingly hard to control over time, increasing the risk of complications even further.
Those who already have Type I or Type II diabetes may not be able to completely reduce their risks of health complications. There are ways to lower the risk of certain problems, however:
Maintain a Healthy Weight – Staying within a health body mass index (BMI) lowers the risk of numerous health problems associated with diabetes.
Exercise – Cardiovascular exercise helps strengthen the heart and vessels, while strength training promotes a healthy body weight.
Keep Taking Your Medications – Don’t stop using your insulin and other prescribed medications without speaking to your doctor first.
Don’t Smoke – This will decrease your risks of smoking related complications, as well as making your diabetes easier to control, according to the CDC.
Diabetics who already smoke shouldn’t lose hope. There are numerous smoking cessation aids on the market now to help make quitting easier. If you are having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy – or NRTs, prescription medications, or stress relief techniques which may help make your quitting efforts more likely to succeed.