Diabetes and Smoking
The information that smoking is bad for us is everywhere, but for diabetics, smoking can be even more damaging.
Beyond the usual reasons, why shouldn’t I smoke if I have diabetes?
Smoking is now proven to be an independent risk factor for diabetes, and amongst diabetics it increases the risk of complications.
Diabetes complications already include heart disease, stroke and circulation problems. Smoking adds to the risk of developing all of these things.
In some cases, smoking can double the likelihood of these conditions, as well as doubling the chances of suffering from kidney problems and erectile dysfunction.
For type 2 diabetics, the major cause of death is cardiovascular disease.
How does smoking increase my heart disease risk as a diabetic?
Diabetes can already damage the heart if it is present in the body for many years or poorly managed.
A high level of blood glucose in the blood changes the composition of the artery walls, leaving them with an increased chance of developing fatty deposits.
This in turn reduces circulation.
I am not diabetic, but I am a smoker. Could smoking lead me to develop diabetes?
Smoking is also proven to be a risk factor for insulin resistance. Patients who are insulin resistant cannot use their bodily insulin properly.
Together with genetics and obesity, smoking is one of the risk factors for insulin resistance. Insulin resistance often leads to diabetes.
I am diabetic and depressed. I enjoy smoking, surely things can’t get much worse?
Unfortunately, smoking amongst diabetics has been shown in some studies to increase the risk of a premature death. Smoking has been found to trigger fatalities through reductions in circulation and damaged blood vessels.
What other diabetes complications will smoking affect?
Further diabetes complications that have been proven to be aggravated by smoking include diabetic nephropathy, albuminuria.
There are links between smoking and retinopathy, although these are less evident than the cardiovascular risks.
Smoking is certainly a major risk factor for both the development and progression of diabetic neuropathy.
What benefits could giving up smoking give to me as a diabetic?
Stopping smoking reduces the risk of developing a major diabetes-related complication.
Many diabetics do not stop because of concerns over weight gain. Some studies have proved that the benefits of giving up smoking as a diabetic actually outweigh any negative effects caused by weight gain.
I can’t stop smoking, and I’m worried that it is exacerbating my diabetes, what should I do?
Your healthcare professional or healthcare team will be able to give you free advice. Taking advice on stopping smoking should be a matter of routine for all diabetics. If you are concerned about weight gain, face the issue by discussing it with your health care team.
Cost of smoking
Calculate the cost of smoking below or use our Cost of Smoking Calculator to see how much smoking is costing you.