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Diabetes and Smoking

While smoking is bad for your health, it is especially harmful for people with diabetes. Nicotine in cigarette smoke causes large and small blood vessels to harden and narrow, resulting in reduced blood flow to the rest of the body. Because people with diabetes already have a greater risk of developing health problems like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, foot problems, and many others, smoking makes the risks that much greater.

No matter how much or how long you have smoked, quitting will lower your risk of heart disease and other health problems. In addition, if you quit, you will:

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  • Likely prolong your life.
  • Improve your health.
  • Feel healthier. (Smoking can cause coughing, poor athletic ability, and sore throats.)
  • Look better. (Smoking can cause face wrinkles, stained teeth, and dull skin.)
  • Improve your sense of taste and smell.
  • Save money. (Most smokers spend nearly $100 a month on cigarettes.)

Tips for Quitting Smoking

If you have diabetes, here are a few tips to help you quit, based on guidelines from the American Cancer Society.

  • Don't carry a lighter or matches; hide all ashtrays.
  • When the urge to smoke hits, take a deep breath. Hold it for 10 seconds and then release it slowly. Taking deep, rhythmic breaths is similar to smoking; only you'll inhale clean air, not poisonous gas.
  • Spend free time in places where smoking is prohibited, such as a library, theater, or museum. Go to lunch with friends who are also trying to quit smoking and go to a non-smoking restaurant.
  • Eat low-calorie, high-nutritional foods instead of smoking. Choose fresh fruit and crisp, crunchy vegetables. Or substitute sugarless gum for a cigarette. Other substitutes to try: lemon drops, cloves, beef jerky, or popcorn (not buttered).
  • Exercise to help relieve tension. Climb stairs rather than take the elevator, or get off the bus before your destination and walk the rest of the way.

More Tips to Stop Smoking

  • Drink liquids -- and lots of them. Water, decaffeinated teas, fruit juices, and certain decaffeinated soft drinks are good choices. Pass up coffee, soft drinks containing caffeine, and alcohol, as they all can increase the urge to smoke.
  • Keep hands occupied. Try doodling, knitting, or other activities that keep you busy.
  • Change the habits connected with smoking. If you always had a cigarette on your office break, opt for a low-calorie snack and juice or tea instead.
  • Wrap a cigarette in a sheet of paper and then put a rubber band around it. If you must reach for a cigarette, you'll have more difficulty getting to one and you will be aware of your actions. Rewrap cigarettes afterward.
  • Tell all your friends that you are definitely quitting smoking. Ask them to help keep you from backsliding. Ask family and coworkers who smoke not to do so around you.
  • Treat your body and soul with kindness. Indulge in a bath or massage, or take a nap. Listen to your favorite music or go see a movie. Enjoying these activities in the absence of smoking will help you realize that you don't need a cigarette to have a good time.

WebMD Medical Reference

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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