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How Does Smoking Cause Diabetes

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Does Smoking Put Me At A Higher Risk Of Developing Diabetes

Diabetes & Smoking

It has been established that there is a clear link between smoking and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Nicotine is one of the many chemicals that are found in cigarettes and is what makes smoking so addictive. When you smoke, nicotine changes the chemical processes in the cells inside your body so they do not respond to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.

Insulin is the hormone that allows your body to use sugar from the food we eat for energy and stops your blood glucose level from getting too high. If your body starts to become resistant to insulin, then your blood glucose levels will rise and put you at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Smoking And Diabetes Incidence

There is much evidence that smoking increases the risk of diabetes. Several cohort studies in Korea have reported that smoking was associated with an increased risk for the development of diabetes. Cho et al. followed 4,041 men for 4 years in rural and urban settings in Korea, and found that past and current smokers had a significantly increased risk for type 2 diabetes, and the risk increased with the number of cigarettes smoked. Another study reported a 14-year-long prospective cohort study, in which the risk of diabetes among men and women who smoked 20 cigarettes or more per day was 1.55 compared to those who never smoked .

A Japanese study reported similar results of a positive correlation between cigarette consumption and risk for diabetes . The health professionals’ follow-up study demonstrated that the risk for diabetes among men who smoked 25 cigarettes per day was 1.94 . Another British study showed the risk for diabetes in smoking men was around 1.7, after adjusting for confounding factors, such as age, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol intake, social class, and antihypertensive treatment .

There have been few studies on the effect of smoking on the risk of diabetes in women as generally the prevalence of smoking is lower in women than men. However, the results from the Nurses’ Health Study in the United States showed that the risk for diabetes in smokers was 1.42 after adjustment for other risk factors .

How Does Smoking Increase Complications For People Who Have Diabetes

While smoking can increase your chances of getting diabetes, it can also make managing diabetes more difficult for those who already have it. Smoking can worsen all of the above complications of high blood sugar, including eye disease, heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, foot problems, and many others.

Other ways smoking can harm you include:

  • Cancer of the mouth, throat, lung, and bladder
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased cholesterol and other fat levels in your blood

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How Does Smoking Make Me More Likely To Develop Diabetes

People with diabetes have bodies that can’t make or use insulina hormone that turns glucose from the food you eat into energy. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage organs such as your kidney, heart, blood vessels and eyes. This damage can cause these organs to malfunction or failone reason why diabetes is one of the top 10 causes of death in the country.

Smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes because it can change how your body processes and regulates sugar. Smoking can also make it harder to control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. If you smoke, you have a 30 to 40 percent higher chance of developing diabetes than someone who has never smoked.

And, the more you smoke, the higher your chance of developing diabetes. Once you quit, your risk of developing diabetes goes down. The longer you’ve been smoke-free, the less likely it is you’ll become diabetic.

What Benefits Could Giving Up Smoking Give Me

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Stopping smoking reduces your risk of developing a major diabetes-related complication. Some people with diabetes don’t quit smoking because of concerns over weight gain. However, studies have found that the benefits of giving up smoking for someone with diabetes outweigh any negative effects caused by weight gain.

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What Support Is Available To Help Me Quit

The good news is that there is a lot of support available to help you stop smoking. The first stop for many is their GP or healthcare professional. They can signpost you to local programmes that are free to attend and are staffed by expert advisers that will help find the best method to quit.

Sometimes this might be a group support session or a one-to-one meeting with a smoking advisor. Overall you are 4 times more likely to stop smoking for good if you engage with an NHS Stop Smoking Service that can offer a combination of different treatments. To find what Stop Smoking Services are available in your area, put your postcode into the finder on the NHS Smokefree website.

We live now in a digital age and there are many digital tools that you can employ to help you quit. Have a look at the NHS Smokefree website which has lots of information and you can design your own personal plan. They also have their own Smokefree app which is available to download for free on both the App Store and

Are There Any Benefits To Smoking

There are absolutely no benefits to smoking. People that smoke say that they find it relaxing, and it helps them deal with stress. In reality, it has the opposite effect. The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant and it is what people crave. You may feel some relief as you are temporarily satisfying the craving, but once youve finished your stress levels increase to more than what they were before having a cigarette.

Another common reason for smoking is that it keeps weight down, and people are worried about putting on weight if they stop. Smoking can suppress your appetite, but it doesnt necessarily mean that if you quit you will put on weight. Its important to know what could make you gain weight when you stop so that you are prepared and avoid this.

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I Smoke To Keep My Weight Down Isn’t That Good For My Diabetes

Keeping your weight down is good, that’s true. But the risks of smoking usually outweigh whatever benefit you might get from controlling your weight.

Yes, smokers tend to weigh less than nonsmokers. Some smokers need fewer calories to feel satisfied with food. Controlling your weight is an important part of managing your diabetes. And eating less can reduce your insulin requirements.

However, smoking makes it harder to control your blood sugar levels. This makes it more likely you’ll develop complications associated with your diabetes.

The risk of organ damage from smoking and diabetes add to each other. So over the long term, you’ll have a higher chance of developing heart disease, kidney disease and retinopathy than if you didn’t smoke.

Smoking Damages Your Eyes

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People with diabetes also have a higher risk of several eye diseases, including cataracts and glaucoma. Poorly controlled diabetes can also lead to an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. Smoking can accelerate the development of diabetic retinopathy and make it worse. This can eventually lead to blindness.

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Circulation Problems Leading To Lower Extremity Infections Ulcers And Amputations

The strain that both smoking and diabetes places on blood vessels increases the risk for slow wound healing and ulcers that affect the arms and legs and especially the feet.

Blood vessels get smaller as they spread to the extremities, so the damage caused by diabetes and smoking is seen in these areas first.

Smoking Cessation May Actually Increase Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

The researchers suspect the elevated diabetes risk is related to the extra pounds people typically put on after renouncing cigarettes and caution that no one should use the studys results as an excuse to keep smoking, which is also a risk factor for lung disease, heart disease, strokes and many types of cancer.

The message is: Dont even start to smoke, says study leader Hsin-Chieh Jessica Yeh, Ph.D., an assistant professor of general internal medicine and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

If you smoke, give it up. Thats the right thing to do. But people have to also watch their weight, she adds.

In the study, published in the January 5 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that people who quit smoking have a 70 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the first six years without cigarettes as compared to people who never smoked. The risks were highest in the first three years after quitting and returned to normal after 10 years. Among those who continued smoking over that period, the risk was lower, but the chance of developing diabetes was still 30 percent higher compared with those who never smoked.

The study enrolled 10,892 middle-aged adults who did not yet have diabetes from 1987 to 1989. The patients were followed for up to 17 years and data about diabetes status, glucose levels, weight and more were collected at regular intervals.

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Additional Risks Of Smoking

Smoking tobacco increases your risk of having cancer. Every year in the US, tobacco use consistently takes the lead among the causes of preventable death. Tobacco smoking is estimated to cause the death of one in five people exposed to preventable risk factors.

While smoking is associated with diabetes, its major effect is that it can cause cancer. In the US, smoking causes 20% of every cancer and 30% of every cancer death. Add to that the 80% of lung cancer cases and lung cancer deaths it accounts for.

Smoking increases your chance of having cancers of the throat , mouth, voice box , esophagus, cervix, kidney, bladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, and rectum/colon. Youre also prone to having acute myeloid leukemia if you smoke tobacco.

Apart from cancer, tobacco smoking can damage all the organs in the body like the heart, lungs, reproductive system, blood vessels, bones, skin, and eyes. Below are other risks of smoking:

Smoking Cessation For People With Diabetes

Does Smoking Affect Diabetes?

Abstinence from smoking will certainly produce specific benefits in patients with diabetes. This fact is reflected in the most recent guidelines on diabetes treatment which include smoking cessation as a key chapter. Current guidance highlights the importance of stopping smoking for patients with diabetes to achieve a better quality of life and to delay the onset and progression of diabetes complications.

The currently available smoking cessation therapies have been shown to double or even triple the dropout rates in controlled studies . A recent study in patients with DM yielded a smoking cessation rate of 11.1% at 6-months in those undergoing an intensive smoking cessation program . However, according to a survey by Diabetes UK, 64.1% of smokers with DM do not receive any assistance or advice to quit far too many. Another constraint to cessation treatment is the absence of a convincing demonstration of an effective cessation interventions in patients with DM . Further studies will be needed to provide clear evidence that which interventions can be valuable for these patients. As a consequence the smoking prevalence among patients with DM continues to be similar to that found in the general population with a significantly less marked decrease trend in patients with diabetes compared to the general population . These conditions mean that helping patients with diabetes to quit requires a greater commitment and the use of personalized anti-smoking strategies.

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Does Smoking Cause Diabetes

Thereâs a really strong connection between cigarette smoking and T2D. Many studies point to a cause-effect relationship. But some experts believe that itâs hard to say for sure that smoking alone causes diabetes. Thatâs because there are a lot of other things at play.

Some other drivers of T2D include:

Tips To Help You Quit

Making the decision to quit is the first big step, weve put together some tips below to help you on your journey to being smoke-free:

  • Set a date: Setting a date gives you time to prepare and increases your chance of successfully quitting. Try to choose a date that avoids situations where you would be tempted to smoke, such as at the pub or other places where people around you would be smoking. Setting a date in advance gives you time to get rid of any cigarettes, lighters or matches and to engage with Stop Smoking Services to support you when you quit.
  • Remember why you are quitting: Reminding yourself why you want to quit helps you to stay motivated. Writing these reasons down and looking at them every time you feel like smoking can be a great tool to help you resist the craving.
  • Stop Smoking Services: Engage with your local Stop Smoking Services so that they can help work out the best plan for you. If youd prefer to do it yourself, then the Smokefree app is great to give you mobile support, expert advice and a 4-week tailored plan with daily support messages.
  • Plan for cravings: Everyone has their own way of coping, whether thats nicotine replacing therapy or distracting yourself by staying busy. Its good to think about this before you stop so you have a strategy in place to deal with the cravings.

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How Does Smoking Affect My Sight When I Have Diabetes

Diabetes can increase your risk of sight problems by damaging the small blood vessels that take blood and oxygen to your eyes. Eye conditions in diabetes include diabetic retinopathy, cataract and glaucoma. Smoking may add to blood vessel damage in your eyes and also cause different eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration. These eye conditions can lead to blindness. Read more about diabetes and eye problems.

How Does Smoking Increase My Heart Disease Risk When I Have Diabetes

How does Diabetes & Smoking affect Wound Healing?

Smoking and diabetes both increase the risk of heart disease in similar ways. This means that when combined they greatly increase your chance of developing a heart-related condition such as a heart attack or stroke.

High levels of glucose in your blood and smoking both damage the walls of your arteries in a way that means fatty deposits can build up much easier. This is known as atherosclerosis. As atherosclerosis occurs, your blood vessels narrow and therefore blood flows through less easily.

When this happens to your coronary arteries you can have a heart attack or angina. When this happens to the arteries that take blood to your brain, you can have a stroke.

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What Is Type 2 Diabetes

There are two primary types of diabetes:

Individuals with Type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin, which is a hormone produced by the pancreas for converting the glucose and carbohydrates that we eat into energy the body can use.3 Though it has been referred to in the past as juvenile diabetes, this type of diabetes can develop at any age, in any race, and is not related to body weight. Approximately 5 percent of diabetics have Type 1 diabetes these individuals must use insulin therapy.4

Individuals with Type 2 diabetes have an abnormality in the way their bodies use insulin that causes blood sugaror blood glucoseto be too high. People with Type 2 diabetes may have adequate or even elevated levels of insulin, but their bodies cannot use it properly.5 Type 2 diabeteswhich accounts for more than 90 percent of all diabetes cases6is a serious condition. In the past, Type 2 diabetes was thought to be a disease primarily seen in adults and acquired later in life. However, in the last 20 years, there has been an increase in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. The rise of Type 2 diabetes among youth has been linked to childhood obesity. In 2016, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.7

What Can You Do To Lower Your Risk

To lower your risk of complications, quit smoking and avoid tobacco products. Of course, thats easier said than done. Smoking is addictive and can be very hard to quit. Start by making a list of all the reasons you want to stop smoking. Then set a quit date to begin your smoke-free lifestyle. Share that date with friends and family members who can support you and help hold you accountable. Some of them may even want to join you on your journey!

Many people find that quitting cold turkey is the best way to stop. You might find it easier to quit gradually by decreasing the amount of cigarettes you smoke each day. Whatever method you choose, your doctor can provide tips to help you along the way. They can also prescribe medications or recommend over-the-counter aids, such nicotine patches or gum. They may also encourage you to try smoking cessation counseling or alternative treatments, such as hypnosis or acupuncture.

Remember, nicotine raises your blood sugar. If you use smoking cessation aids that contain nicotine, such as nicotine patches or gum, your blood sugar will remain elevated. Over time, you can wean yourself off of these aids and enjoy the benefits of lower blood sugar.

For more information and help, call the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services toll free support line or log on to www.smokefree.gov.

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Reduce Your Risk And Keep Your Feet Healthy

Since diabetes can negatively impact your feet, you can keep them healthy by reducing your risk of developing diabetes. Stopping smoking is one way to do that. If you do have diabetes, it is important to see a podiatrist regularly and to do a daily self-check of your feet. You can stop small problems from becoming serious ones by taking proper care of your feet, and prevention is key. You can avoid possible foot complications by doing the following:

  • Check your feet daily for cuts, scrapes, blisters, or wounds. Also, look for any changes in the appearance or color of your feet.
  • Trim your toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails.
  • Wash your feet daily and dry them completely after washing.
  • Reduce your chance of injury by never going barefoot.
  • Wear shoes that are not too tight and fit properly.
  • Wear socks daily to protect your feet.
  • Stay active to keep the blood flowing to your feet and toes.
  • Consult a podiatrist f you experience any problems with your feet.

If you have questions about type 2 diabetes and how it can affect your feet, consult the team at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. To request an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call our office today.

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