How Smoking Affects Individuals with Diabetes

Diabetes SmokingSmoking can be very risky for diabetes patients. According to the American Diabetes Association’s report entitled Smoking and Diabetes, there is significant evidence pointing to a possible causal relationship between certain health risks and smoking. In other studies, a higher risk of premature death has been observed among diabetics who happened to be chain smokers as well. Macrovascular and microvascular complications are known to have developed among these individuals, and some studies even point out that this habit may be related to the development of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (type 2).

The Link Between Diabetes and Smoking

Cigarette smoking can interfere with the body’s ability to utilize insulin. Therefore, despite having regular insulin treatments, these will not help ease the patient’s condition. Diabetic patients are also more likely to experience cardiovascular complications that are associated with the disease. According to studies, the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke increases by eleven times among smokers who have diabetes. In addition, the mortality rate caused by cardiovascular diseases is raised threefold. One of the reasons why cases of heart attacks are more frequent among diabetic smokers is that smoking actually increases the cholesterol level in the patient’s body whenever they smoke. Also, smoking does not only raise the amount of cholesterol in the blood, but it also increases the fat deposits in arteries, which then leads to myocardial infarction.

This habit also limits the level of oxygen and other nourishments entering the blood stream from reaching tissues. This can be particularly damaging to pregnant women, as smoking increases the chances of having a miscarriage or stillbirth. Individuals suffering from diabetes are also two times more likely to have poor blood circulation or to experience problems related to healing wounds efficiently. These conditions may lead to limb infections or deformities, which may later on cause a need for amputation. Nerve damage and kidney disease are also frequent among diabetes patients who smoke.  Aside from neuropathy and nephropathy, diabetics who habitually smoke are also more likely to acquire diabetic retinopathy, which may lead to severe vision loss or even blindness. Smoking may also cause impotence among males. Bleeding gums, dental diseases and ulcers are also common among smokers who have diabetes.

The Truth Behind the Myths About Smoking and Diabetes

Many people think that since diabetes is a serious illness and will just kill them anyway in the end that it does not matter anymore if they smoke. However, if one is able to control their smoking habits and eventually stop themselves from smoking completely, then they will be able to better cope with the disease and fight it. Medicines will not do much if one continues to smoke. There are others who also think that they feel better and forget about their disease whenever they smoke, but the truth is that the effects of smoking, just like any other drug, is short-term. In the end, this will only make them feel worse, because they will have a higher risk of suffering from the serious complications of diabetes.

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