Smoking & Diabetes

Everyone knows that it is unhealthy to smoke. Still a lot of people smoke. Strangely enough we are not too concerned about this from a moral point of view. However, many persons with diabetes feel that people around them often act as "candy police". If a person with diabetes stands in line to buy some candy, everybody who knows him/her stares and thinks that "he/she is not allowed to do that". Many will even make a comment in a manner that will hurt the individual's feelings. On the other hand, if a smoker is standing in the same line to buy cigarettes nobody will say anything in spite of the fact that smoking can cause just as many health problems as candy-eating in a person with diabetes.

Persons with diabetes smoke with the same frequency as other people. Smoking implies a substantially increased risk for lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and cardiovoascular diseases like arteriosclerosis. Having diabetes will in itself imply an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases like arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and stroke. In diabetes the risks are additive. If you imagine diabetes as an act of balance on a slack rope, smoking will be like trying to do the same endeavor with a bandage over your eyes. Many studies in adults confirm that the risk of premature death for a person with diabetes who smokes is the double that of a person with diabetes who does not smoke.

At the 1994 World Congress on Tobacco it was established that every second smoker will die from a disease that is connected with smoking. Smoking was called the greatest epidemic of the 20th century causing more deaths than both the plague and AIDS. A 14 year old who has begun smoking should be treated like a contagious tuberculosis patient considering the risk that he/she can entice other teenagers to start smoking.

Nicotine from smoking affects the blood glucose level by contracting the blood vessels, resulting in a slower absorption of insulin from the injection site. Nicotine will also cause an increased insulin resistance (a poorer blood glucose lowering effect of a given dose of insulin), which will make your diabetes more difficult to manage. The risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes is twice as large for a smoking person, especially for women.

When smoking one will also inhale carbon dioxide which strongly binds, to hemoglobin in the red blood cells, preventing oxygen from binding to the same sites. The amount of red blood cells will increase to compensate for this. Scientific studies show that smoking, for a person with diabetes, will increase the risk for renal failure, visual impairment, foot ulcers, leg amputations and heart attacks.
Passive Smoking

Even passive smoking will damage your health. It has been shown that children absorb nicotine into their blood-stream at twice the rate of adults when smoking passively. Smaller children are even more sensitive. Children of smoking parents also have increased levels of lead and cadmium in their blood. To smoke under the kitchen fan does not keep the smoke from spreading into the house.
Educational Treatment Unit
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