Diabetes And Smoking A Deadly Combination
10 important reasons not to smoke cigarettes.
Diabetes is a lifestyle related disease. If diabetes is not properly controlled, it can lead to complications, especially eye, nerve, kidney, heart disease, stroke and vascular diseases of the lower limbs.
Smoking itself is linked to various health problems, especially those related to the heart and lungs. Smokers are more likely to develop many cancers, including heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and even lung cancer. Smoking and diabetes are a deadly combination.
So here are 10 important reasons why diabetics should not smoke.
- Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes reduce the level of oxygen in the blood, causing high blood pressure. Diabetics are already at risk of high blood pressure.
- Smoking significantly increases the risk of heart disease. It causes platelets that travel through the blood vessels to stick together and form clots. Heart disease is 2-5 times more common in people with other diabetes than in people with diabetes and is the most common cause of death in people with diabetes. Smoking increases this risk even more.
- If a blood clot affects the blood supply to the brain, it can cause a stroke (paralysis of the body). Again, the risk of stroke increases sharply in diabetic patients who smoke.
- Nicotine in smoke is a vasoconstrictor that causes narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the organs. Hence the risk of peripheral artery diseases increases manifold. The poor blood supply damages the nerves in the arms and legs and results in diabetic neuropathy.
- Impaired blood supply and damaged nerves cause tissue damage to the lower limbs and can lead to diabetic foot, gangrene and eventually amputation.
- Smoking also reduces blood flow to the eyes. Smoking also contributes to ARMD (age-related macular degeneration), cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
- Hyperglycemia with smoking increases oxidative stress and accelerates some of the factors that reduce nitric oxide production. As a result, the basement membrane of the glomeruli in the kidney thickens and the risk of chronic kidney disease (nephropathy) increases. Diabetic patients who smoke have a higher risk of kidney failure.
- People with diabetes are already on the verge of developing respiratory diseases and smoking itself is a major risk factor for lung diseases. Smoking can cause COPD.
- Decreased immunity due to increased oxidative stress also makes smokers more prone to infections. Diabetics already have a weakened immune system. Because COVID is linked to the immune and respiratory systems, the outcome in the pandemic is worse if people with diabetes smoke. Smokers and diabetics are at higher risk of serious complications and death from Covid.
- Smoking is a cause of increased oxidative stress because nicotine and tobacco bind with oxygen and deplete cells of oxygen which is a risk factor for cancer. Smokers have a higher risk of many cancers, especially lung, kidney, pancreas and bladder cancer.
So, quit smoking if you are diabetic. It is very difficult for heavy smokers to quit so at least reduce consumption gradually and quit smoking over time. Your determination and hope will surely help you in this. You can take the help of experts who can recommend nicotine gum as well as some medicines to help you quit smoking.