Some people would say it’s not diabetes itself that kills, it’s the complications that do. The data somewhat agree with this – in 2012, up to 2.2 million deaths were related to high blood glucose levels. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are notorious for the complications they cause, ranging from weakened immunity to an increased risk of serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease and organ failure.
Remarkably, diabetes is considered largely preventable or manageable. Experts recommend following a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise to keep your blood glucose levels low and within the normal range. Engaging in habits that help you manage stress and feel positive, such as sleeping adequately, meditating, and getting positive contact (whether with other people or your pets) also help.
Needless to say, there are habits that diabetics need to avoid. Smoking is one of the worst of them. This was what a study, published in the European Journal of General Practice confirmed.
The study examined the effects of lifestyle on the emotional well-being of 1,085 patients with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers obtained the participants’ lifestyle information, including their body mass index, cigarette consumption, alcohol use, and physical activity through self-reported questionnaires. The patients’ emotional well-being was assessed through the World Health Organization-5 well-being index (WHO-5).
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After adjustments for the other lifestyle factors and an analysis of the WHO-5 scores, the researchers found that physical activity was linked to optimal emotional well-being in both male and female diabetics. At the other end of the spectrum were alcohol use and smoking, which caused the most negative impact on the emotional health of men and women respectively.
Smoking and Type 2 diabetes
Not surprisingly, the link between Type 2 diabetes and nicotine use goes deeper than emotional well-being. According to studies, non-diabetic people who smoke have a 30 to 40 percent higher chance of developing the disease later on. In diabetics, smoking increases the risk of the following complications:
- Insulin resistance – Type 2 diabetes happens when your cells resist the effects of insulin, keeping your blood sugar levels high as a result. Smoking makes enhances insulin resistance and makes it even harder to control your blood glucose. This increases your risk of developing any of the more serious complications of diabetes.
- Cardiovascular disease – Both diabetes and risk factors are, by themselves, considerable risk factors in cardiovascular disease. Combining the two exponentially raises your risk of dying from either a heart attack or a stroke.
- Kidney failure – Smoking increases your risk of developing hypertension, which is linked to kidney damage. This bad habit also slows down the flow of blood to your kidneys, as well as other important organs, increasing the risk of and complicating existing health problems.
- Respiratory disease – Smoking has a direct impact on your respiratory health. It is linked to various diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These diseases are normally manageable, but diabetes can make it harder to do just that. Furthermore, having diabetes can increase your risk of dying from pneumonia by at least three times.
- Vision loss – The combination of diabetes and smoking is simply ruinous to eyes. Both of them are risk factors for macular degeneration and cataracts. Both of these conditions are irreversible and are among the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Diabetes also leads to diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when diabetes damages the blood vessels in the eyes. Smoking hastens the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Learn everything you need to know about diabetes at DiabetesScienceNews.com.