Be Safe from Diabetes: Smoking Risks for Diabetics

Thursday was the Great American Smokeout, a day when smokers are encouraged to quit the habit; and doctors say that, for diabetics, smoking vastly increases the risk of death.

Past research shows that diabetes patients who smoke have higher blood sugar levels, making their disease more difficult to control; but that's just the beginning. Research also shows that smokers with diabetes place themselves in danger of developing complications such as kidney failure and heart problems.

That's why doctors encourage diabetic smokers to quit smoking.

"Your probability of getting any of these chronic diseases, from heart disease, from stroke, from lung cancer, they decrease significantly with the passage of time," Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Mladen Golubic said. "The longer time has passed, the lower the risks are."

Doctors say stress levels may also go down when you quit smoking, so it's always better to quit sooner rather than later.

So if you're looking for ways to quit smoking, here are some steps.

1. Realize the benefits of quitting. Quitting can help your heart and lungs, and it lowers the risk of hurting your blood vessels.

2. Prepare to quit. It's hard work, so approach it like any major project. Make sure to throw away your cigarettes, matches and lighters before you hit your quit day.

3. Choose a quitting strategy. Going cold turkey works for some people, or you could taper off, cutting back gradually.

4. Ask your doctor. Maybe you need to use a nicotine patch, gum or prescription medicine.

5. If all else fails, ask your doctor about acupuncture or hypnosis.


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