You probably know most of the dangers involved with smoking cigarettes. As a diabetic, this bad habit can pose even greater risks for your health. Check out the ways in which smoking, in combination with your condition, can seriously affect your wellness.
How does smoking affect you as a diabetic?
1. Smoking may raise your blood sugar
According to Healthline, cigarettes may cause your blood sugar to spike to harmful levels. Additionally, they may damage your body's ability to respond to insulin properly. Increased blood sugar levels in diabetics can lead to a variety of serious issues. Even if you work hard to eat healthy and maintain appropriate blood sugar levels, smoking may undo all that care and attention.
2. Diabetes and smoking both increase heart disease risk
If you have diabetes, you are already twice as likely to develop heart disease as people without the condition, in addition to an increased risk of developing it earlier in life. Diabetic Care Services reports that if you smoke with diabetes, you are three times more likely to die from a heart-related issue, such as a heart attack or stroke. Heart attacks in diabetics are also usually more severe, notes the Department of Health and Human Services.
3. You can experience eye problems
As a diabetic, you have an increased risk for developing disorders like glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Smoking may worsen diabetic retinopathy which could lead to blindness, reports Healthline.
4. Respiratory issues caused by smoking are worse for diabetics
One of the central - and worst - ways that smoking affects the body is by damaging the respiratory system, causing issues like emphysema and bronchitis. Healthline also notes that people experiencing lung diseases are far more likely to contract pneumonia. When a person with diabetes gets pneumonia, it is typically more severe for them than it is for people without the condition. The symptoms can be more serious and recovery can take a lot longer.
How can I quit safely and effectively?
When it comes to your diabetes care, it is essential that you quit smoking. Here are some options to get you started on the path to a smoke-free lifestyle. Try cutting back by one cigarette per day until you do not need them anymore.
1. Cold turkey
It might sound impossible now, but the American Diabetes Association notes that many people are able to quite without any special help - just a commitment to changing their habits.
2. Nicotine replacement therapy
You have probably seen patches or gums advertised that claim to ease the transition to a smoke-free life. According to Diabetic Care Services, these products may double your chances of quitting cigarettes forever. Healthline notes that some doctors believe nicotine may cause blood sugar to spike, so you may not notice a difference right away in glucose levels if you choose to use this method.
3. Alternative treatments
There are a variety of other options that have been shown to reduce cigarette dependency, from hypnosis to acupuncture. ADA suggests speaking with your physician to see if any of these could help you.