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What Are the Effects on Smoking on Diabetes?

The effects of smoking on diabetes include an increased risk of developing diabetes in people who are smokers, and more serious diabetes complications for diabetic people who smoke. A smoking cessation program can reduce a number of health risks and help someone with diabetes control the disease more effectively. Patients should discuss their options with a doctor if they have an interest in quitting smoking, as the doctor may have some advice and suggestions to develop an effective plan.

Smoking has a number of documented health effects. There appears to be a correlation between a history of smoking and an increased chance of developing diabetes. For patients with this disease, the known cardiovascular problems associated with smoking are a cause for concern. Diabetes puts stress on the cardiovascular system, and when it is compounded by smoking, the patient may develop significant health complications in the future.

People who smoke tend to have higher blood pressure, which strains the kidneys and liver. They also have narrower, harder blood vessels and are more prone to cardiovascular disease. This can lead to increased risks of stroke, kidney disease, retinopathy, and problems with the extremities like slow-healing ulcers in the feet. The effects of smoking on diabetes can be very serious, as they may make the diabetes worse; even if the patient controls his blood sugar, for example, the blood vessel damage from diabetes can mix with smoking to cause more health problems.

Organizations like the American Diabetes Association suggest that many patients are not aware of the effects of smoking on diabetes, or do not fully understand the risks. While doctors often discuss smoking with patients known to be smokers, they may not stress the special concerns when it comes to the impact of smoking on diabetes. These patients are at increased risk for serious medical problems in the future and may have a shorter lifespan and decreased quality of life.

Diabetic patients may find the disease harder to control when they smoke and will also have difficulty managing complications like retinopathy. Patients aware of the effects of smoking on diabetes may want to consider meeting with their physicians to talk about how to safely stop smoking. There are a number of ways patients can address a smoking habit, including counseling, smoking cessation aids, and so forth. Some patients may need to try several methods before they find one that works for them.

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