Diabetes and Smoking – A Dangerous Combination


Diabetes can impact multiple systems in the body. These, if not managed properly can lead to blindness, vascular disease, or kidney failure. The situation worsens if the smoker is a diabetic.

A research published in 2007 in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that smoking can develop the risk for diabetes in case you already don’t have it.

Diabetes and Smoking - A Dangerous Combination

According to the Centre for Disease Control, smoking increases the risk of diabetes by these mechanisms:

  1. It increases inflammation in the body
  2. Smoking significantly increases the oxidative stress
  3. It contributes to abdominal fat accumulation which itself is a risk factor for diabetes
  4. Smokers have a relatively higher concentration of the hormone Cortisol which increases the blood sugar levels.

What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels?

In smokers with diabetes, nicotine happens to be the main culprit.

It is responsible for:

  • High blood sugar levels
  • Increase in the risk of heart attack, stroke
  • Rise in the risk of kidney failure and nerve damage
  • Increase in leg and foot infections

Nicotine Causes

Diabetics who smoke are three times more likely to end up with a heart disease than a non-smoker diabetics.

How Does Nicotine Lead to Increased Sugar Levels?

The nicotine raises the level of hemoglobin A1c, which is a measure of blood sugar control. Increased nicotine dose causes the level of A1c to increase.

Increased Sugar Levels

How can it be Controlled?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps in controlling diabetes.
In order to manage the disease, you can:

Controlling Diabetes

The Best Thing to do for Good Health: Quit Smoking

Though the addictive nature of nicotine can make quitting a major challenge, it can help reduce the risk of long-term and short-term complications related to smoking and diabetes.

Related Article: Smoking and Diabetes – Health Risks, Effects, and How to Quit

5 Tips for Quitting Smoking

You can try some of these tips to escape the habit of smoking.

1. Quit at Once

It is better to try and quit in one go, as quitting gradually can extend the stress. Also, each reduced cigarette can trigger withdrawal symptoms which are tough to fight.

2. Don’t Quit Trying

Most people attempt to quit several times before they succeed, as each unsuccessful attempt is a learning on the way to quitting successfully.

3. Addiction is not the Source of Pleasure

People trying to quit do experience the cravings and discomfort, which is mostly a part of the withdrawal symptoms. Most feel that quitting is taking away their source of pleasure, and this feeling mostly buds from the addiction. Just remember, addition is not the source of pleasure.

4. Try Finding a New Healthy Habit

Smoking is a behavioral addiction, which is why a few changes to your smoke routine are necessary to break the association with smoking. For example, if you start your day with a cigarette, you should make the change and start the day with a walk.

5. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

This therapy doesn’t work for all smokers. A consultation with a doctor is important before starting Nicotine Replacement Therapy or medications.

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