4 Reasons Why Smoking is Harmful for Diabetics

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

Smoking remains to be a major risk factor for most chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. It is also one of the leading causes of premature death. But did you know that smoking may also worsen diabetes and make people at risk of the disease?

Many people don’t know that smoking may also contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes. In fact, experts identify tobacco use as a risk factor for this lifelong condition. Numerous studies have linked smoking with higher risk of diabetes. Despite this, about 22% of diabetic adults smoke, according to the American Heart Association.

So in what ways does smoking aggravate type 2 diabetes?

1) Smoking can cause even more complications. Research has found that diabetic individuals who smoke are more likely to experience nerve damage and kidney problems. They are also three times more likely to die of heart-related complications than diabetic individuals who don’t smoke. Furthermore, people with diabetes who smoke tend to have problems with movement and flexibility in the joints, suffer eye damage, develop nerve damage which can lead to numbness and pain, and develop gum disease.

Diabetes patient measuring glucose level blood test using ultra mini glucometer and small drop of blood2) Smoking causes imbalance in the blood sugar levels. Smokers who have diabetes are more likely to have problems maintaining their blood sugar levels. This is because the chemicals in tobacco raise blood sugar. Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin (or does not properly utilize it). Insulin is the hormone which keeps the blood sugar stable. To protect their health, people with diabetes focus on managing their blood sugar levels.

3) Smoking weakens the immune system. Young smokers who have diabetes are two to three times more likely to get sick than diabetics who don’t smoke. That’s because one critical effect of smoking is that it lowers the immune system, making a person more vulnerable to a wide range of diseases.

4) Smoking increases the risk of amputation. The toxic chemicals in cigarettes are known to disrupt blood flow by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, and by narrowing the blood vessels. What’s more, smoking makes blood-vessel walls sticky, allowing dangerous fatty acids to build up. Poor blood circulation are more severe in people with diabetes. It makes them much more vulnerable to pain and amputation due to blood vessel disease in the limbs. Problems with blood flow also make it difficult for men with diabetes to achieve or maintain erection.

If you have diabetes and you smoke, now is the time to quit. While there is no bullet cure for diabetes, healthy lifestyle is all you need to live like normal and lower your risk of complications. Cigarette smoking is a major health risk which you don’t want to incorporate in your life, especially if you are suffering from a serious illness. By quitting smoking today, you are making one big step towards a healthier and longer life.


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