Smokers are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers, according to Dr Ahmad al-Mulla, head of Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Tobacco Control Centre.
"Smoking also significantly increases the risk of diabetes complications among diabetics who smoke," he said in the context of World Diabetes Day, observed each year on November 14.
“We know that smoking causes type 2 diabetes. Smokers are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers, a fact that has been proven in numerous studies. Smoking
Dr Jamal Abdullah
changes how the body processes and regulates sugar from the food we eat. It can also make it harder to control blood sugar levels if you already have diabetes. People with diabetes who smoke often need larger doses of insulin to keep their blood sugar close to their target level,” al-Mulla said, and urged smokers to quit the habit. .
“Smoking damages the walls of the arteries and can lead to inflammation and cellular imbalances. Smoking can also cause the body to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can make it harder for insulin to work properly. People with diabetes who smoke are more likely than non-smokers to have trouble with insulin dosing and with controlling their disease,” he said.
Al-Mulla said diabetic smokers are three times more likely to develop heart disease than people with diabetes who do not smoke.
Smoking is a known risk factor for premature death and diabetics who smoke are also at increased risk for infections like gangrene and diabetic foot amputation due to decreased blood supply to the feet.
"Diabetes complications associated with the eyes and kidneys are also greater among diabetics who smoke," al-Mulla added.
Dr Jamal Abdullah, a Smoking Cessation Specialist at HMC, said no matter how much or how long a person has smoked, quitting will allow the body to begin repairing itself.
“The health benefits of quitting begin right away. Studies have shown that insulin can start to become more effective at lowering blood sugar levels just eight weeks after a smoker quits the habit. Other benefits of quitting smoking include reduced incidence of heart disease, improved kidney function, and reduced risk of peripheral neuropathy,” Abdullah said.
In recognition of World Diabetes Day, staff at HMC’s Tobacco Control Centre is urging smokers to consider quitting. To learn more about smoking cessation support and services available at HMC’s Tobacco Control Centre, call 4025 4981 or 5080 0959.