Did you know that cigarette smoking can lead to developing pre-diabetes and diabetes? In fact, nearly half the people who smoke will have a higher risk of becoming insulin resistance.
If you have diabetes and are a smoker you will make a bad situation even worse. There is a higher risk of serious complications such as heart disease, neuropathy – loss of feeling in hands and feet leading to amputations, eye problems and eventual blindness and more. These are diabetic related issues and does not include the other effects of smoking like lung cancer, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
It has even been proven that quitting cigarettes will reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
My personal story
For many years I was a smoker. And it wasn’t easy to quit. But I knew that, with a family history of heart disease and diabetes, my chances of living a healthy life would require me to stop. I also wanted to set the right example to the next generation.
I didn’t buy into any special commercial aids to help me. It was through the help of a higher power and a strong desire that I have not smoked a cigarette in over thirty years. I replaced the need to smoke with the hope of living a healthy life by taking better care of my body. Losing a loved one to diabetes was also a wakeup call for me.
I substituted the need to smoke with the exercise habit. As a consequence my stamina and vitality improved over the years and I believe this is one of the main reasons I am able to dodge the pre-diabetes, and full blown diabetes, bullet. My blood sugar levels, based on A1c tests, have remained under 5.6% for years.
Tips to help you stop smoking
Quitting cigarettes is a minute by minute and day by day challenge for someone who wants to ditch the habit. It’s requires a strong desire to not smoke. Think of it as any bad habit you want to quit – biting your finger nails, drinking sugary drinks, crossing your legs or watching too much TV.
- Take up a sport you enjoy or start exercising. When you do either of these they will cause you to improve your cardiorespiratory system. A secondary benefit is it will make you seriously consider quitting cigarettes forever when you notice everyone else running circles around and you are gasping for air.
- Avoid places that encourage smoking – bar and other hangouts,
- Don’t hang out with smokers – One of my biggest triggers was being in the same area when my friends light up.
- Substitute smoking triggers – like coffee drinking with water or an after dinner smoke with a mile walk on your favorite walking path . . . for some that could be the mall.
- Meditate – learn how to sit quietly for ten to twenty minutes each day in a noise free area and clear you mind.
- Develop coping skills to deal with stress. We all go through stressful situations everyday. This puts a strain on your body and being a smoker only compounds a bad situation.
- If you are unable to do this on your own then seek counseling.
- There are many products on the market that can aid in quitting the habit. I would caution you to be careful of adding excess nicotine through patches or nicotine infused gum since it can affect blood sugar levels.
- Join a support group.
- Take warm baths.
- Do a detox.
For more information and help, call the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ toll free support line (1-800-784-8669) or log on to www.smokefree.gov.
If you smoke and are diabetic it’s imperative that you quit. There are several programs that can aid in smoking cessation. Talk to your doctor who can point them out to you and give proper guidance and monitoring.
If you are ready to start on a proven fitness program specifically focused on improving your insulin sensitivity then visit How to Prevent Pre-diabetes.