Diabetic Smokers Start Young and the Number of Cases Increases with Age
Smoking is bad for a regular person’s health, and even more harmful for someone who has a disease like diabetes. Smoking affects the production of the lungs and heart in terms of the amount of oxygen delivered. As the amount of oxygen sent to the organs in the body decreases, the blood pressure and the level of bad cholesterol increase. All of these factors significantly increase one’s risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Diabetics experience many physical symptoms of the disease and are at risk for a number of related medical conditions. Compared to non-diabetics, they are more vulnerable to having kidney problems, heart diseases and erectile dysfunction. If they smoke, diabetics make their condition worse and increase further the risks for graver complications.
According to a study done by Kaiser Permanente, people with diabetes usually develop smoking habits at a young age. The study also showed that the number of diabetics who smoke increases with age. Among Type-1 diabetic patients aged 10 to 14, around 5.5 percent smoke. For the age group of 20 and older, the number increases to 34 percent.
The study also found out that smoking among young diabetic patients is more likely to happen in families with an annual income of $50,000 or less. Native Americans top the list of races with the most number of young diabetic smokers, while Asian-Pacific Islanders are on the bottom of the list.
Not surprisingly, the study showed that Type-1 diabetic patients who smoke have a significantly poorer cardiovascular health. They have higher blood pressure and higher cholesterol levels.
Some diabetic patients continue to smoke because they believe smoking prevents weight gain. It is true that weight control is important among diabetics. However, the benefits gained when one gives up smoking far outweigh the supposed advantage of weight maintenance through smoking.
Before anyone can quit smoking, the first step is to realize the harmful effects of smoking. A person must choose to quit smoking because he realizes that it is a major health hazard. For a diabetic, smoking is all the more harmful because his body is already in an unhealthy and weakened state. Subjecting it to further problems by smoking will only aggravate his condition and likely lead to serious complications.
The second step to quit smoking is preparation. One should think about the reasons for quitting and write them down. Put the note on the bathroom mirror or somewhere where it is easily visible as a constant reminder to oneself. Another useful tip is to find the right timing. It is easier to quit smoking when life is relatively calm and stress is low. At such time, make the move to quit. Also ask support from family and friends. If possible, ask someone else who smokes if he or she would like to join you in your quest to stop smoking. Having a partner will make it easier.
The third step is to figure out a strategy that works best for you. Nicotine patches are popular. They work by giving the body nicotine through the skin instead of the lungs. Otherwise, opt for gums and sprays. You can also try the taper method. In this method, you keep smoking like you normally do but you gradually remove one cigarette each day, until you completely stop smoking.
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