Having diabetes and smoking is clearly and obviously a very bad combination. For those that need this confirmed in some way I will present you with some stats throughout this article. So before we continue let me shout it from the rooftop for you – having diabetes and smoking is a very bad idea!
I used to be a diabetic smoker but I am happy to report that I have not smoked cigarette in 9 months now. I am not sure what input I can give on how or why a quit, I just quit. I went completely cold turkey and although initially it was hard, it became easier after a few weeks. Now the thought of smoking I find a bit revolting.
It is amazing how the brain changes when it is no longer addicted to nicotine. I used to take exception to people that would criticise me for smoking. I enjoyed a cigarette, especially with a beer or a coffee or after a good meal. I knew the risks of having diabetes and smoking. I told my local doctor and also the professor I saw twice a year at the diabetes clinic. They both encouraged me to quit ASAP. They said that the older I got the harder it would be and the more chances of complications would be. The impression I got was that because I was young it was not an urgent, compelling, overwhelming situation but that it soon would be. To be honest I tried to quit a few times but then I grew tired and wanted to quit trying to quit and just quit :o) . It was a tough first 4 weeks but it got way, way easier after that.
Believe me when I say that if I can quit smoking then I know you can too!!
Did you know that smoking can cause type 2 diabetes?
The latest evidence points to a very strong correlation between smoking and diabetes type 2. Research suggests that smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers. It is a known medical fact that smokers have higher blood sugar levels than non-smokers. If that evidence is not reason enough to quit then I am not sure what is. Smoking also makes diabetes harder to control as it creates insulin resistance. Quitting smoking will immediately reduce your odds of developing diabetes. If you are a diabetic your chances of developing complications down the track are lessened when you quit.
Heart attack and strokes
I am terrified of having a heart attack or a stroke. Diabetes complications already include the increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Smoking can double or even triple these odds as smoking and diabetes work in very similar ways. Diabetes and smoking can damage the walls of the arteries in such a way that fatty deposits can build up more easily. High blood sugar levels does this automatically whilst the nicotine in cigarettes also does it. This leads to blood vessels narrowing which makes the circulation of blood a lot more constrained. When this happens to arteries around the heart a heart attack maybe imminent. A stroke can occur when blood struggles to get to the brain. Diabetes and smoking limits circulation and the flow of blood to the heart and brain.
More problems for diabetic smokers
The fact is that all these problems are associated with diabetes. When you have diabetes and smoke these problems are magnified sometimes 10 fold. Other problems associated with diabetes and smoking include –
- Amputation of the limbs due to blood vessel damage in the legs
- Kidney disease
- Erectile dysfunction due to the effects on blood vessels in the penis
- Eye damage to the back of the eye causing blindness.
This article is a no brainer really. Smoking and diabetes is a very, very bad combination. Even using nicotine patches to quit smoking is not the best idea either as the nicotine that constrains the arteries is still in the blood stream. The best way, I believe, is to go cold turkey. The benefits you will experience will be almost instant and you will be increasing your life expectancy from day 1 as a non-smoker. Just think of your loved ones when making this kind of decision.
Please leave me a comment below especially if you are a diabetic who has quit smoking. How did you do it?