Abstaining from smoking can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with Type 2 diabetes
01/22/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Cigarette smoking is dangerous for the health of healthy people. It is even more dangerous for people with diabetes as it increases the risk of heart disease and premature death. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine has found that avoiding the use of tobacco products could significantly cut the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy's Institute of Medicine looked at the data of nearly 300,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes enrolled in the Swedish National Diabetes Register in the period of 1998 to 2014. These patients have been compared to up to five times as many genders and age-matched control subjects from the general population.

The results of the study revealed that some patients with Type 2 diabetes are 10 times more likely to develop heart attack, heart failure, and stroke, and five times more likely to die early compared to the general population. On the other hand, other people with Type 2 diabetes have no more than 10 percent increased risk of premature death, heart attack, and stroke compared to the general population. Their risk factors are determined by how well their condition is managed and by not smoking. These factors include blood pressure, long-term blood glucose, lipid statuses such as fats and fat-like substances in the blood, renal function, and smoking.

The results also suggested that younger people with Type 2 diabetes are at greater risk. The risk of complications, particularly heart failure, is the highest among those patients below 55 years old. This highlights the importance of monitoring and treating risk factors in younger people with Type 2 diabetes.


These results suggested that individuals with Type 2 diabetes with all risk factors within therapeutic target range had a significantly decreased risk of premature death, heart attack, and stroke. The most dangerous factor for heart attack and stroke was elevated blood sugar levels, but smoking was seen as the most important risk factor for premature death. The results also indicated that the risks could be significantly reduced, and in some cases may even be eliminated.

More reasons why diabetics should avoid smoking

Having diabetes already increases the risk of many health problems. Smoking can make you more vulnerable to even more diseases and increases the risk of the following complications in diabetics:

  • Emotional well-being: People with diabetes who continue to smoke experience a pronounced reduction of emotional well-being, according to a study published in the European Journal of General Practice. In the study, researchers looked at the effect of lifestyle on the emotional well-being of more than 1,00 patients with Type 2 diabetes and found that smoking and alcohol use caused the most negative effect on the emotional health of people with diabetes.
  • Insulin resistance: People with diabetes have to work hard to manage their blood sugar levels, and smoking can make this even harder. Smoking can increase insulin resistance, which can result in higher blood sugar levels.
  • Loss of vision: People with diabetes are more prone to having eye diseases, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Smoking can promote the development of these diseases and make it worse, which can eventually cause blindness.
  • Respiratory problems: Smoking has a direct negative effect on your respiratory health, causing respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. People with these diseases are more likely to develop lung infections like pneumonia, which can be extra dangerous to diabetics. Having diabetes can also increase your risk of dying from pneumonia by three times than those without.

Quitting smoking can lower your risk of complications from diabetes and limit the damage to your organs, blood vessels, and nerves. In turn, this can help you live a longer and healthier life.

Read more news stories and studies on the health hazards of smoking by going to StopSmoking.news.

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