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Smoking and Diabetes

By January 10, 2007

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The list is long for reasons to stop smoking. Cigarettes cause all kinds of health troubles. There is an increased risk of cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and strokes. Add to that the increased risk for getting Type 2 diabetes. According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, if you smoke, you have three times the chance of developing Type 2 as someone who doesn't.

Smoking can seriously shorten your life, all by itself. But, if you have diabetes and you smoke, your risk for diabetic complications goes up dramatically.

Smoking and diabetes both have many of the same health problems in common. Both can damage your heart and your circulation. Both can raise your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels. Smokers also have a harder time controlling their blood glucose levels, because insulin resistance is increased by smoking. However, people who are ex-smokers have the same control over their blood glucose as non-smokers.

The benefits of quitting are dramatic. Better blood glucose control means a lower A1C over time. Better circulation, less resistance to insulin, decreased risk of diabetic complications, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, all help with your diabetes management. Plus, in addition to all the other benefits, when you quit smoking, you just plain feel better.

How do you quit? There are many websites devoted to helping people quit smoking.

  • The Smoking Cessation Website at About.com provides an excellent online resource for quitting. Your Quit Smoking Guide, Terri Martin, also moderates a great forum where people can gather to give and get encouragement.
  • Smokefree.gov offers a free On-line Guide to Quitting.
  • The American Cancer Society supplies the on-line Guide to Quitting Smoking

Your healthcare provider can also help you on your quest to quit. There are medications that can help ease the cravings. You can also find support groups in your area by calling 1-800-QUITNOW.

Photo by Andras Deak

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