Smoking and diabetes
Smoking is an extremely addictive habit that increases the risk of developing many serious, and often fatal health problems, including cancer and heart disease. People who have never smoked should not start, and people who do smoke should make every effort to stop.
Smoking is particularly hazardous to people with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of damage to large blood vessels, leading to a higher rate of heart attacks, strokes and poor circulation to the feet. This higher risk is related to the long-term effect of raised blood glucose levels, or other factors which are often associated with diabetes such as high blood pressure, being overweight or high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides (a type of fat) in the bloodstream. Smoking makes damage to blood vessels much more likely to occur. Treatment of all these risk factors substantially reduces the risk of developing blood vessel damage.
People with diabetes who continue to smoke are more likely to die early than those who have never smoked, or those who give up the habit, and the risk is greatest for the heaviest smokers. Smoking also aggravates insulin resistance (problems with the body’s response to insulin) in people with diabetes, and can make it more difficult to control blood glucose levels.
In the short-term, stopping smoking improves blood pressure, circulation, and breathing and chest complaints. Over longer periods, staying smoke-free cuts the risk of developing serious health problems like heart disease. The longer the period since stopping smoking, the more the risk falls.