Smoking and Diabetes
Smoking is one of the major avoidable causes of ill health
and premature death through circulation, breathing and cancer disease.
How does smoking affect
People with diabetes are already at
greater risk of the major circulation problems that lead to a heart
attack, stroke and gangrene. The risk is about three times as much
as those who don’t have diabetes.
Diabetes and smoking interact by affecting the
lining of theses blood vessels so that they clog up and clot off to
produce even more risk of circulation disease, increasing the risk
again about 3 times. That means that if you have diabetes and you smoke
the overall risk is increased (3 x 3) 9 fold – that’s 900% more - compared to people who
don’t have diabetes and don’t smoke.
Smoking may also worsen the other diabetes complications by affecting
the smaller blood vessels in the eyes, kidney and nerves.
Why should I stop smoking?
You must make
your own choices but you must already know that there are many reasons
to do this. Stopping smoking is the most important thing you can do to
reduce the risk of circulation complications, let alone the other risks
to your health with chest disease and cancer. No matter how long you
have smoked, your health will improve after you quit.
Why quitting is so hard.
keep smoking for two reasons. First, nicotine is highly addictive. Often
a person who quits goes through a withdrawal. Withdrawal is usually worst
on the second day of quitting, and it gradually fades with time. Second,
many people become psychologically tied to smoking. It is their daily
How to stop smoking?
important that you stop smoking because you want to. Think of good reasons
to stop like to improve you health or to save money. Get support from
family and friends; tell everyone that you have decided to stop, avoid
places and situations where you will want a cigarette, plan activities
to replace smoking. Try to do different things like going for a walk
instead of watching TV, or drinking juice instead of coffee. Ask your
health visitor or doctor for help. Learn to relax.
Preparing to stop?
take anything from a few days to years. Smoking is strongly linked to
certain situations e.g. a break for tea or coffee, a phone call or a
stressful event can all be cues to light up. The key to success is to
try and break the link between these events and your smoking habit. Have
a plan of action. Decide on a day to stop; will be easier when you are
busy or working or when you are relaxed on a weekend. The day before
get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters. Plan rewards for the end
of the first day, the first week and the first month.
There are many
ways to quit. Some stop smoking immediately and completely. Others cut
down gradually by reducing the number of cigarettes smoked over a period
One method that
helps you quit gradually is nicotine replacement. When you wear a nicotine
patch or chew nicotine gum, some amount of the nicotine enters your blood.
The patch and the gum let you taper off from the physical addiction slowly.
You do not wear a patch for ever instead you use a series of patches
with decreasing nicotine doses. After a few weeks you have been weaned
totally from nicotine. A smoker who uses a patch is twice as likely to
quit successfully as someone who does not use a patch.
Stop Smoking Services.
effective way of stopping smoking is to use your local NHS stop smoking
service. They have trained advisors who can provide free advice and
support. Evidence shows that using these services will improve your
chances of giving up long term by 13- 19 %. Currently over half of
people who set a quit date are still not smoking at the four week follow-up.
and do not waver. Take care and do not allow yourself to be tempted
and do not get into difficult situations. Do not play games like the ‘one
cigarette won’t hurt’ or ‘I’ll
just have one to prove I have kicked it’. The occasional cigarette
will reawaken the craving. Stopping smoking could be the beginning
of a new life style. When you have not smoked for a few months and
are feeling confident, look at other aspects of your lifestyle like
your weight and activity and have a go at improving this too.
Seeking advice and what care to
Your medical team will discuss stopping smoking with you
and advise about nicotine replacement treatment. You can contact the
various NHS services quite easily.