What’s the Connection?

Diabetes is a group of diseases in which glucose levels are higher than normal.  The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that helps glucose enter the body’s cells.  When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin very well.  Type 2 is the most common type in adults and accounts for more than 90% of all diabetes cases.

Smokers are 30 to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with nonsmokers.  And people with diabetes who smoke are more likely than nonsmokers to have trouble controlling their disease.  Smokers with diabetes also have higher risks for serious complications, including:

  • Heart and kidney disease
  • Poor blood flow in the legs and feet that can lead to infections, ulcers and possible amputation
  • Retinopathy (an eye disease that can cause blindness)
  • Peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves in the arms and legs that can cause numbness, pain, weakness and poor coordination)

If you are a smoker with diabetes, quitting smoking will benefit your health right away.  For free help to quit, call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Source:  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention