Smoking and Diabetes, which do you tackle first?


You might think that the best thing to do if you have diabetes and smoke is to first quit smoking. 

I might disagree.  The first thing you need to do is get your diabetes under control.  If you have pre-diabetes, learn to turn your fate around with some lifestyle adjustments.  If you have type 2 diabetes, work with your doctor to do what you need to do to stabilize your blood sugar levels by diet, exercise, medications, etc.  And if you have type 1 diabetes or type 1.5, be sure to get your diabetes regimen down pat and your A1c at a good level. 

You see, smoking is dangerous.  It kills.  No doubt about it.  Yet, uncontrolled diabetes is more dangerous.  High blood sugars over time do some serious damage to the body and for those who suffer low blood sugars, well you know this can be fatal very quickly.

If your diabetes management is great and your blood sugars are looking good then you are ready to quit smoking. 

If this isn’t you however, I would caution against first quitting smoking.  Quitting smoking often causes people to overeat because their cravings are screaming to fill the void.  There are countless articles on how quitting smoking increases the risk of type 2 diabetes or is helping cause type 2 diabetes.  Don’t get me wrong, I think anyone who smokes should quit ASAP but, I recognize the double whammy of diabetes and smoking and how one affects the other.

Dr. Mercola says that a french fry is worse for you than a cigarette.  This is scary.  It made me think about how we went after the cigarette companies and their advertisements and haven’t made nearly as strong a stand against the fast food industry (although this is slowly changing).

If you feel like your diabetes will suffer at the hands of quitting smoking, get a grip on the diabetes first.  Figure out what you must do to control your blood sugars.  This will give you strength, better health, a more peaceful mind, and the willpower to finally quit smoking.

Those are just my thoughts.  Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate on confronting either issue.  Diabetics who smoke are at much higher risk for health problems.  You deserve better.

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