How does smoking affect diabetes?
Before you light up that next cigarette, here are some things to consider. You likely already know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other health issues. But did you know it can also cause diabetes? If you already have diabetes, smoking can make problems worse.
A person with diabetes either does not have enough insulin, or their body cannot use the insulin the way it should. Without enough insulin, glucose [sugar] builds up in the blood. Over time, too much glucose in the blood can lead to problems like heart disease, stroke, kidney and eye disease, nerve damage, or amputation.
While diabetes is a serious condition, it can be prevented or managed.
Quitting smoking may lower your risk of diabetes
People with diabetes who smoke are more likely to die from heart disease or stroke than people with diabetes who don’t smoke. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney disease, retinopathy, and nerve damage. It also damages blood vessels and may increase the risk of foot ulcers and infections.
Make a plan to quit
- Pick a quit date. Ask your friends and family for support.
- Get ready to quit by counting down the days. The night before, throw away your cigarettes and ashtrays.
- The first few days will be the hardest. When cravings hit, distract yourself by going for a walk or calling a friend.
- If you don’t succeed your first time – keep trying!It may take several attempts before you can quit for good.
Check with your health care provider before and after you quit
Before you quit smoking:
- Ask about programs and medications that may help.
- Find out how your blood sugar may be affected by nicotine replacement therapy or other quitting methods.
- Ask about ways to manage your blood sugar while quitting.
After you quit smoking:
- Your diabetes control will improve. Your health care provider may want to change your dosage of insulin or other medication.
- Blood pressure and cholesterol levels may also improve after you quit smoking. Your health care provider may want to change your treatment.
What about weight gain?
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, weight control is important. You can minimize weight gain while quitting smoking by increasing your physical activity and eating fewer calories.
Nevada Tobacco Quitline
Connect with your personal coach today: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669)