What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

According to the American Diabetes Association, for people who have type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin and it can occur at every age and in people of every race, shape, and size. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes—and it means that a person’s body doesn’t use insulin properly. While some people can control their blood sugar levels with healthy eating and exercise, others may need medication or insulin to help manage it.

In the state of New Hampshire, 9% of the adult population (or 97,000 individuals) have been diagnosed with diabetes. An estimated 7,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes in New Hampshire every year. There are also adults who have diabetes but are unaware of it or have not received a diagnosis yet.

If you have diabetes, you are at high risk of developing further health problems like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and more.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. Those with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke than those who do not have diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop heart disease.

People Who Smoke and Have Diabetes…

  • People who smoke have a higher risk of belly fat, which increases the risk for type 2 diabetes even if they aren’t overweight.
  • Smoking can make your blood sugar harder to control and affect how your body uses insulin. Higher levels of nicotine can decrease the effectiveness of insulin, causing people who smoke to rely more heavily on insulin to keep their blood levels in check.
  • If you have diabetes and you smoke, you are more likely to have nerve damage in your arms and legs, which can result in numbness in these areas, pain, weakness, and impaired coordination
  • Smoking significantly increases an individual’s risk of diabetic foot amputation
  • If you have diabetes and smoke, you are more likely to experience microvascular complications, affecting the small blood vessels in the body. These issues can result in blindness and a decrease in kidney function. 1 in 3 adults suffering from diabetes has chronic kidney disease.
  • Smoking and diabetes increases the risk for erectile dysfunction.

All in all, if you smoke, you’re 30% to 40% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than people who don’t smoke. The more you smoke, the higher your risk. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Meet Bill B., he explains the serious health problems he developed by age 40 from having diabetes and smoking.

Talk to your doctor, a certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES), or another member of your healthcare team if you would like to quit smoking. They can help find the best quit option for you.

The QuitNow-NH services connect you to Tobacco Cessation Coaches that are trained and listen. They meet people where they are and provide personal support and build relationships that promote quitting tobacco. QuitNow-NH services reach all populations in New Hampshire with customized and culturally appropriate information developed for multiple audiences, as well as people wanting to quit tobacco while coping with additional health matters including diabetes.

Helpful Links

New Hampshire Diabetes Program

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