Understand the Smoking-Diabetes Link

Carole Willi, M.D., of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and analysis of studies describing the association between smoking and the incidence of diabetes or other glucose metabolism irregularities that covered thirty years. The data was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s December 12, 2007 issue.

The data indicated that active smokers have a 44 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with nonsmokers. The more you smoke, the greater the risk. People who smoked twenty or more cigarettes a day had a 61 percent increased risk, compared with lighter smokers, who had a 29 percent increased risk.

Death, regular or menthol: Most people associate smoking with cancer. However, its effect on the cardiovascular system and diabetes is stealthy, and your entire organ system can be damaged before you become aware of the extent of the damage. Smoking is an insidious killer. It takes years but by then it is too late.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 440,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases, and 135,000 additional deaths are linked to the effects of cigarettes on the cardiovascular system. Smokers are two to three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than are nonsmokers, according to the American Heart Association.

According to the American Diabetes Association report Smoking and Diabetes, cigarette smoking accounts for one out of every five deaths in the United States and is the most important modifiable cause of premature death. Other studies consistently find heightened risk of morbidity and premature death associated with the development of macrovascular complications among smokers. Smoking is also related to the premature development of microvascular complications of diabetes.

The cardiovascular burden of diabetes, especially in combination with smoking, has not been effectively communicated to people with diabetes or to health-care providers, and there is little evidence that this risk factor was being talked about consistently.” According to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, “There is no safe amount of smoking. Smokers continue to increase their risk of heart attack the longer they smoke. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have more than twice the risk of heart attack than nonsmokers.”

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, within 24 hours of quitting, blood pressure and chances of a heart attack decrease. A 35-year-old man who quits smoking will, on average, increase his life expectancy by 5.1 years. The more you smoke, the more likely you are to become atherosclerotic, which results in blocked arteries and reduced blood flow to the heart. If you are diabetic, your diet is poor, and you don’t exercise regularly, every cigarette multiplies your risk of developing angina and coronary artery disease.

The peripheral arteries that carry blood to the arms and legs are at increased risk for blockages in smokers, and smokers may suffer symptoms of intermittent claudication (leg pain and cramping due to impaired blood flow). There is also a greater chance of central artery blockages, increasing your risk of stroke.

In addition to increasing your risk of cancer of the lung, mouth, esophagus, and bladder, smoking raises your likelihood of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and gastrointestinal problems, such as gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcers.

Here are a few more effects of smoking:

Smoking causes your blood sugar to rise.
Cholesterol levels and other lipid levels rise as well.
Smoking can cause high blood pressure.
Blood vessels are restricted, which can lead to foot ulcers and leg and foot infections in people with diabetes.
It increases the chance of thrombosis (blood clots).
Neuropathy (nerve damage) develops or worsens, leading to sexual dysfunction and kidney damage.
Your immune system becomes compromised, making you more susceptible to infections, colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
It reduces levels of vitamin C in the body, which help your body develop antioxidants (preventing heart disease and cancer), collagen for stronger bones and cells, and healthier gums and also speeds healing of scrapes and burns.
You inhale 400 different toxins in the smoke and 43 known carcinogens (i.e., cancer-causing agents) every time you take a drag. These include a tar similar to road surfacing tar, the poisonous gas carbon monoxide, arsenic, formaldehyde, ammonia, and many other poisonous compounds. These chemicals circulate in your body, continually putting you at long-term risk, as myriad scientific studies have proven.
Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives are at higher risk of coronary and peripheral artery diseases, heart attack, and stroke than are nonsmoking women who use oral contraceptives.
The likelihood of developing complications from medications increases.
All of this increases your chances of dying before your time and makes weight loss more difficult.

The above is an excerpt from the book The Weight Loss Plan for Beating Diabetes: The 5-Step Program That Removes Metabolic Roadblocks, Sheds Pounds Safely, and Reverses Prediabetes and Diabetes by Frederic Vagnini, M.D., FACS, and Lawrence D. Chilnick. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Frederic Vagnini, M.D., FACS, and Lawrence D. Chilnick, authors of The Weight Loss Plan for Beating Diabetes: The 5-Step Program That Removes Metabolic Roadblocks, Sheds Pounds Safely, and Reverses Prediabetes and Diabetes

Author Bios
Frederic J. Vagnini, M.D., FACS, coauthor of The Weight Loss Plan for Beating Diabetes: The 5-Step Program That Removes Metabolic Roadblocks, Sheds Pounds Safely, and Reverses Prediabetes and Diabetes, is a board-certified cardiovascular surgeon whose understanding of the ravages of cardiovascular diseases is grounded in twenty years as a cardiac surgeon. He hosts a popular call-in radio show and has published several books, including The Carbohydrate Addict’s Healthy Heart Program, a New York Times bestseller.

Lawrence D. Chilnick, coauthor of The Weight Loss Plan for Beating Diabetes: The 5-Step Program That Removes Metabolic Roadblocks, Sheds Pounds Safely, and Reverses Prediabetes and Diabetes, is the authors and creator of the New York Times bestseller The Pill Book, which has sold 17 million copies and is still in print after more than two decades. He is a publishing executive, editor, teacher, journalist, broadcaster, and author of several popular health reference books, electronic products, audiotapes, and videos.