Diabetic smokers at higher risk of heart disease than diabetic non-smokers

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Type 2 diabetes patients, who are also smokers, are at greater risk of experiencing heart related issues including heart failure, clogged arteries and reduced blood flow to the limbs as compared to non-smoking diabetes patients, a new study claims.

The study published in the journal Circulation claims that diabetes patients who quit smoking are at comparatively lower risk of getting heart related issues, but still higher than non-smokers.

In an email sent to Reuters Health, lead author An Pan noted that despite efforts to persuade people to quit smoking, the menace is still common among diabetic patients.

Pan, a professor at China’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology, said the health study was aimed at finding out if smoking was linked to total mortality and cardiovascular activities among diabetic patients, and whether ending up on smoking would lessen the risks.

For the purpose of the study, the research team collected data from 89 previous studies that concerned smoking among type 2 diabetes patients and found that diabetic patients who smoke were around 1.5 times more likely to experience clogged arteries, stroke and other heart related issues.

It was found that active diabetic smokers were twice as likely to suffer from peripheral artery disease than non-smokers.

Former smokers were at 1.2 times higher risk of suffering with clogged arteries and 1.1 times more risk of getting a heart disease, as compared to non-smokers.

Analysing the risk from the study review and global diabetes death rates, researchers estimated that smoking causes 14.6 per cent of deaths in diabetic men and 3.3 per cent of deaths in diabetic women globally.

Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy, who is the division chief of global health at the University of California, told Reuters that there is all the possibility that physician’s care routine for the diabetes patients are focused more on cardiovascular risk factors, diabetes complications, diet and weight control, while neglecting smoking as a crucial risk factor.

Pan said that a large number of smokers may not be ready to quit smoking considering the short term side effects related to it which includes weight gain.

However, he noted that quitting up smoking has many long term positive effects which no doubt over weighs the short-term side effects.

Pan has advised diabetic smokers to opt for professional aid to quit smoking.

Agreeing to Pan, Al-Delaimy said there still lies an opportunity for patients suffering from diabetes and smoking cigarettes to substantially reduce further complications and suffering by quitting smoking.