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Tobacco Use and Diabetes

Jumping out of an airplane without a parachute at 10,000 feet altitude would not make much sense, would it? Neither would jumping out of an airplane WITH a parachute and then refusing to pull the ripcord at the appropriate time. If you had been told to pull the ripcord at the count of 10, but you were enjoying the free fall so much that you decided to wait until the count of 11 or 12 or 15….the longer you wait, even if you eventually DID pull the ripcord, it still might be too late to do you much good by the time you hit the ground, right?

The same is true with people who use tobacco. Many people with diabetes still smoke or chew…but, I think it is because they really have never really understood the tremendous risk involved in continuing to smoke. The smoker may be enjoying the “free fall” so much that s/he plans to simply stop smoking/chewing “later.” But, will it be too little, too late?Img46.jpeg Is the pleasure of the “free fall” really worth the risk? Your decision needs to be based on facts….so read on……

Having a diagnosis of diabetes puts a person at a very high risk of cardiovascular disease, i.e. heart attack, stroke, and blood clots in the leg or lung. In fact, that risk is two to four times as high as the risk of a person of the same age and race without diabetes. That is a very high risk indeed! Especially when one realizes that the risk for the average American is approximately 49 out of 100 of dying from a cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke, mostly). That translates into 75 – 80 % of people with diabetes dying of heart attack or stroke! Those are very high risks!!!

We also know that using tobacco — whether smoking it or chewing it — increases the risk of cardiovascular events as well…even in the absence of diabetes. In fact, the risk is approximately equal to the risk caused by the presence of diabetes.

When BOTH diabetes AND tobacco use are present, you can see THAT would just be DOUBLE TROUBLE!!!! Let’s look a little closer at what it is that makes the risk so great.

One of the problems that happens in most people with diabetes is a narrowing of the opening of the blood vessels, known at atherosclerosis. This narrowing is somewhat similar to the way the opening in a water pipe narrows when there is a build up of lime. There is less room for the blood to flow, therefore, less blood can circulate. Thus, a problem occurs known as poor circulation. The farther a body part is from the heart, the smaller the blood vessels. The smaller the blood vessels, the more likely there will be poor circulation.

To compound the problem, the presence of tar and nicotine and many of the other 3000 poisons found in tobacco products makes the blood vessels spasm closed even more. It becomes obvious that if the opening is already narrowed, that it won’t take much of a spasm to cause the blood flow to stop completely, or nearly so.

Keep in mind that circulating blood carries the life forces that allow your body to live oxygen, glucose for fuel, protein to rebuild broken areas, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, hormones, immune bodies to fight off infection and cancer. Without ALL of these things available when needed, parts of the body begin to fail to work properly and eventually cells die and, when enough cells die you experience symptoms. The precise symptoms will depend on which part of the body has been most effected.

To be continued…

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