How Smoking Affects Diabetes?

Updated at: Feb 07, 2012
How Smoking Affects Diabetes?

How smoking affects Diabetes? Smoking accelerates the risk of health complications in diabetics than in non-diabetics. Smoking with high blood sugar can result in numerous life-threatening diseases.

Gunjan Rastogi
DiabetesWritten by: Gunjan RastogiPublished at: Feb 02, 2012

Diabetes is a global problem, but if combined with smoking, it can cause innumerable cardiovascular diseases and other physical ailments such as kidney failure and high blood sugar.  The risk of heart disease doubles when you are a smoker and are diagnosed with diabetes.

Cardiovascular diseases in diabetic smokers

In diabetics, smoking increases the risk of narrowing of blood vessels. Smokers with diabetes develop high glucose level, which narrows the walls of arteries by depositing fatty substances on them and making blood circulation more difficult.   Slow blood circulation to the heart can cause chest pain or heart attack, especially, during the period of increased activity. Narrowed arteries also lead to poor circulation of blood in the legs thereby, increasing the risk of amputation, gangrene and ulcer.

Smoking causes diabetic nephropathy

In diabetics, smoking elevates the chances of developing diabetic nephropathy (a kidney disease). Smoking causes the diabetic person to get tiny amount of microalbuminuria (a type of protein) in the urine. As the amount of microalbuminuria increases, kidney’s ability to remove toxins from blood diminishes and the kidney fails to function properly after 5-10 years.

Smoking causes diabetic neuropathy

Smoking is also a documented cause of diabetic neuropathy. This affects the peripheral nerves, pain fibres, motor neurons and autonomous nervous system. Diabetic neuropathy results in various problems such as diarrhoea, vision blurriness, urine continence and retention, speech impairment, pain in legs and muscle weakness or dizziness.

Smoking and diabetic retinopathy

Although, a strong relationship between smoking and diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina due to diabetes) has not been established like other cardiovascular diseases, both do have a certain amount of association. . Diabetic smokers can experience defects in vision such as blurriness or vision change.

Smoking further increases blood sugar level in diabetics

Smoking with diabetes further reduces the immunity of the body and causes various infections in the body that worsen the glucose control of the body. Nicotine also raises blood sugar level in diabetic smokers thereby, increasing the risk of health complications.

Smoking in patients with diabetes serves as a link between the patient and a greater risk of cardiovascular ailments. Quitting smoking may not be one of the easiest things to do, but it surely reduces the risk of detrimental heart diseases and controls blood sugar level.

Quit smoking and look forward to a healthy life!


Read more articles on Diabetes.


All possible measures have been taken to ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and authenticity of the information; however does not take any liability for the same. Using any information provided by the website is solely at the viewers’ discretion. In case of any medical exigencies/ persistent health issues, we advise you to seek a qualified medical practitioner before putting to use any advice/tips given by our team or any third party in form of answers/comments on the above mentioned website.

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK