Question

Living with Diabetes

How does smoking make my diabetes worse?

A Answers (2)

  • APat Beare, Nursing, answered on behalf of Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)

    Smoking is bad for your health. Smoking is the primary reason for early death in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the leading cause of preventable diseases in the United States. Smoking causes damage to the cardiovascular system [heart and blood vessels], causes nerve damage [diabetic neuropathy], damage to the small blood vessels of the eye [retinopathy], and kidney damage [nephropathy]. Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen that gets to your organs and skin. Smoking can also cause hypertension and may increase the risk of stroke or brain attack. Smokers are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular complications than non-smokers. Smoking is a risk factor to develop insulin resistance, a condition where the body can't use insulin [a hormone produced by the pancreas], to get glucose or sugar into cells effectively to control the amount of sugar in the body. Smokers have 50% more of a chance of the risk of developing diabetes type two than non smokers. Diabetic smokers have an increased risk of developing changes in their blood vessel walls including developing fat deposits or plaque deposits in their artery walls. If you are not diabetic yet, smoking will increase your risk of developing diabetes.

    Diabetic smokers can have even more complications. They are three times more likely to die an early death from cardiovascular disease than non-smokers and have more problems maintaining blood sugar levels. For women smokers an additional risk is the effect on the endocrine system causing a reduction in estrogen levels which may lead to early menopause

    If you do smoke, challenge yourself to quit. Realize the benefits of quitting. Your heart and lungs will appreciate it and even your skin might have fewer wrinkles!

  • ADonna Bond, DNP, Nursing, answered on behalf of Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)

    People who have diabetes have a high risk of developing circulation and heart problems.  Smoking appears to increase blood glucose levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure.  Smoking also increases your risk of death from heart disease.  The combination of smoking and diabetes increases the risk of circulation complications that can lead to amputations, blindness and/or strokes. 

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How important is it for me to quit smoking if I have diabetes?