Smoking & Diabetes: A Deathly Combination

Smoking kills. Diabetes kills silently. Smoking over Diabetes kills quick, out of the blue.

In cinema commercials, in a mall, inside our office, almost a million times over we encounter these two words ‘Smoking Kills’. Smokers or non-smokers, we all know how smoking is jeopardous to life. Still and all, the risk multiplies profoundly when smoking follows diabetes. Let’s see how.

Table of Contents

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterised by increased levels of sugar in the blood. Blood sugar or blood glucose is the primary source of energy for the body. A healthy human body has a normal blood sugar level of 5.5mmol/litre; with minor fluctuations depending on the person’s diet. This sugar is regulated by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by pancreas. When the body receives glucose from food, insulin carries this glucose to cells where it is absorbed and further released as energy.

And so, when the body is suffering from diabetes, the level of sugar crosses the normal limit. This happens due to either of the two reasons:

1. Insulin Deficiency

In this case, pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. This results in Diabetes Type 1.

2. Insulin Resistance

Also known as Diabetes Type 2, this is the most common type of diabetes. It develops when the cells stop responding to the insulin produced.

In both the cases, the glucose, instead of absorbing in the cells, starts accumulating in the blood leading to dis functioning in blood flow.

How Smoking is related to Diabetes and affects your body parts?

Smoking And Diabetes

Both smoking and diabetes are causes of cardiovascular diseases. When combined, they can only aggravate the disease. But this isn’t all. Smoking is already a cause of Diabetes Type 2. And so, if a diabetic indulges in smoking, results can be fatal. Here are a few problems caused by smoking while the body is already under the grip of diabetes.

1. Blood Sugar Level Out of Control

Smoking releases a toxic chemical called nicotine. When this chemical reaches the blood, it shoots up the level of haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) by almost 40%. HbA1c is the key indicator of blood sugar amount in the body. So, even if a person is non-diabetic, smoking considerably sets up the risk of diabetes. And if the person is already a diabetic, nicotine added to it only worsens the condition.

More the level of HbA1C in blood more is the possibility of building up of protein complexes which can block the blood vessels leading to problems in circulation.

2. Chronic Diseases

Numerous researches say that more than 80% cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. With diabetes added to it, it puts the smoker at a greater risk of developing respiratory diseases; especially pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer.

3. Eye Damage

While diabetes is known to affect the light sensitive blood vessels of retina, smoking damages the macula, a middle part at the back of eyes. This can lead to diseases like cataract and glaucoma. Even more, smoking exacerbates the diabetic condition called diabetic retinopathy, which can cause blindness.

4. Foot Infections

A diabetic smoker is at a high risk of developing Peripheral Arterial Disease that obstructs flow of blood in the feet. This can trigger various infections, even leading to the need for amputation.

5. Heart Disease

High blood sugar is more likely to affect the arteries. This excess sugar makes layers of fatty deposits in the arteries that narrow or even block the passage of blood flow. If these deposits happen in coronary arteries, they can severely affect the heart causing heart attack, cardiac arrest or heart failure.

6. Stroke

If the arteries affected by smoking in a diabetic body are of nervous system, it hampers travelling of blood to the brain. When brain doesn’t receive sufficient blood, the outcome can be poor coordination, lack of attention, dizziness or even stroke.

How to lower the risk?

If a body is non-diabetic, then apparently quitting smoke can prevent the scourge before it outbreaks into danger. However, if a body is already diabetic and above that a person starts smoking, it’s like inviting a trouble to oneself. Even if you are diabetic or not, there’s always a chance to prevent the risks by not indulging in smoking. Here are few ways by which this risk can be minimized.

1. Quit Quit Quit

The most evident and hitting way to prevent diabetic complications is to quit smoking, either through rehab or with the help of family and friends.

2. Exercise

Quitting cigarettes can be stressful at first. To relieve the stress, one can do cardio and give way to breathing exercises like Pranayama and Yoga. This clears the lung passage and also helps in blood circulation. Meditation also helps.

3. Eat Right

To handle missing nicotine, your body needs a lot of energy. Add plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts in your diet. Avoid oily, fried or caffeinated foods.

4. Stay Busy, Stay Social

Leaving space for loneliness is a great way to invite urges of smoking again. So keep yourself engaged in some activity, job and meet lots of people.

The Takeaway

Smoking is like killing yourself, still more if you are diabetic too. So, why add spark to spark. Pay attention to your habits, recognize the threats and take action to outbreak them, even if the action means going cold turkey.

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