Smoking, Diabetes, And Quitting
Everybody, even smokers themselves, know that smoking is not good for one’s health. Smoking hurts mainly your lungs and heart. Smoking lowers the quantity of oxygen that gets to your organs, raises your blood pressure and your bad cholesterol thereby increasing the risk of a stroke or a heart attack.
And smoking by a diabetic patient can be more harmful than just smoking. A comparison of the risk of Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVD) in patients who smoke and those who do not show that those who do smoke run a 2 to 4 fold increase in suffering some sort of cardiovascular disease. The combined risk of CVD in people with diabetes and who smoking if fourteen times that of those who are just diabetic or those that only smoke.
Another bad effect of smoking by patients with diabetes is that they become more impotent if they were previously suffering from slight impotence and the risk of becoming impotent greatly increases among them.
You may not be aware but smoking even affects the –
- Hair – It becomes stained and smelly. Growth of hair is retarded and it becomes thin, lifeless, and dull.
- Brain – The main bad effects that affect the brain are the thickening of the carotid artery that results in the blocking of blood flow to the brain leading to stroke. Smokers are 50% more prone to heart attack than non-smokers.
- Eyes – The dangerous effects of smoking on the eyes include diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataract and glaucoma, and at its worst blindness.
- Nose – The effect of smoking on the nose can take away your sense of smell completely.
- Teeth and Gums – Did you ever wonder why your teeth are stained and there is bleeding of your gums when you wake up in the morning? Well, heavy smoking is the cause. Loose teeth, gingivitis, and gum disease are also direct results.
- Mouth and Throat – All cancers related to the esophagus, oral cavity, and larynx are due to smoking. The less dangerous ones are bad breath, sore throat, and lack of taste.
- Hands – If you continue to smoke, your fingers will become stained. Peripheral vascular disease, cold hands, and gangrene may also occur.
- Digestive System – The effects of smoking include peptic ulcers, heartburn, stomach cancer, gallstones, and Crohn’s disease – an inflammatory disease of the intestines starting from the mouth to the anus.
- Skin – Premature aging, scarring, capillaries, and wrinkles are just s few of the effects of smoking.
- Legs and Feet – Leg pain, gangrene, and Buerger’s disease (recurring inflammation and clotting of the small and medium arteries of the hand and feet) are some of the painful effects of smoking.
All of these ailments are aggravated if you have diabetes and also smoke. Their onset is faster and the effects are more pronounced.
As on date, there is no known cure for diabetes and it can only be controlled. A careful plan has to be chalked out for diabetic care.
Diet plays an important role in the control of blood sugar and a diabetic diet must be taken in conjunction with either insulin or oral hyperglycemic drugs to reduce the content of sugar (glucose) in blood. There is no common diet plan for all diabetic patients. Your diet has to be planned in consultation with your diabetologist and a nutritionist. What you need are foods that have a high nutritional value but are low in calories. The best diabetic diet should consist of the following:
- Fiber – at least ¼ oz. per day,
- Instead of 3 heavy meals, go in for 4 to 5 meals in small quantities.
- Replace bakery and fast foods with simple wholesome cooked cereals
- Eat fruits and vegetables; at least 5 servings a day.
- Don’t eat carbohydrates before bedtime.
Yet another aspect of diabetic care is exercise. The effect of exercise in reducing the glucose level in blood cannot be understated. Regular exercise is essential and a plan of exercise has to chalked out in consultation with the diabetologist. And the best form of exercise is regular brisk walking for a minimum of twenty (20) minutes at least five days a week.
If you do not smoke and are not diabetic, well and good. If you do not smoke do not plan to start. Shun it as you would shun the devil. If you do smoke and you are diabetic then think seriously of quitting. Quitting may be difficult for heavy and chain smokers, but if you are diabetic and have some of the symptoms listed above then it is high time that you stopped smoking.
Dare yourself to quit smoking. There are some things that you can do to stop this bad habit. Here are some steps to help you quit.
Step One: Realize The Benefits Of Quitting
Quitting will greatly help your heart and your lungs. It reduces the risk of hurting your organs, your nerves, and your blood vessels. Quitting will also leave you with fewer wrinkles on your face; better-smelling clothes, breath, and hair; and keep your family from secondhand smoking. Your smoking does affect your family and other members of your household.
Step Two: Prepare To Quit
Quitting, as stated above, is really difficult. But you have to approach the question of quitting as if you are planning for a major project.
ü Set a date for quitting. Inform your family and friend that you intend to do so. The best time to stop smoking is when you are less stressed and fairly calm.
ü, Write down the reasons for quitting and place it where you can see it every day.
ü, Get rid of your cigarettes, lighters, matchboxes, and ashtrays.
ü, Ask others for their help, perhaps a friend who also wants to quit. Do it together. One of you can prevent the other from lighting up.
Step Three: Choose A Strategy
ü, Quit all at once. It works for some people. Though you may be sorely tempted to light up, resist it with all your might. It may be difficult for a day or two. Tempers may flare and you may get irritated for small matters. But if your family, friend, acquaintances, and co-workers know that you are trying your level best to quit and if they are understanding then these are just passing irritations.
ü Taper Off. Cut off smoking gradually by cutting down your smoking frequency over the day. Extend it to weeks and finally give it all up.
ü, Make use of nicotine patches, dab rigs under $100, sprays, inhalers, or chewing gum. You can ask your physician for prescription drugs to aid quitting. These drugs create an aversion towards smoking.
ü, Try other alternative therapies such as acupuncture or hypnosis.
All or a few of these steps should stop you from smoking. When you finally do quit, you will feel healthier immediately and you will be healthier for the rest of your precious life.