man lighting a cigarette

The Correlation Between Type 2 Diabetes, Alcohol and Tobacco


Sober Recovery Expert Author

man lighting a cigarette

Today, more Americans suffer from Type 2 Diabetes than ever before with 29.1 million people or 9.3 percent of the population diagnosed with the disease and 37 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older having pre-diabetes. To give you an idea, diabetes kills more Americans annually than AIDS and breast cancer combined [1].

Once diagnosed, living with diabetes can mean big changes in your day-to-day routine. You must drastically change your eating habits, begin a regular exercise regimen and cut out all negative impact recreational habits such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.

To give you an idea, diabetes kills more Americans annually than AIDS and breast cancer combined.

The Negative Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol exacerbates the progression of diabetes and interferes with the medications taken to control it. Diabetes medications assist the liver, which is the body’s drug purifier, in regulating sugar in the blood. However, the organ is unable to multitask so it will first work on clearing your body of alcohol before regulating sugar. Many people drink on an empty stomach, causing the liver to go into override in an attempt to first process the alcohol. First, the alcohol causes the blood sugar to spike, followed by a deep dive. For those who are on medications meant to lower blood sugar, the body’s sugar levels gets even lower and may cause insulin shock, which is an urgent medical emergency.

Additionally, alcohol tends to increase appetite. This is in part due to the liver asking your body for help breaking it down. Those who are struggling with obesity issues should take this information into account while working on their diet.

The Negative Effects of Tobacco

Both smoking and chewing tobacco puts you at greater risk for cancer, stroke, lung disease and more. If you smoke after being diagnosed with Diabetes, the blood vessels become damaged and are unable to circulate blood throughout the body as needed. Without good flow to your major organs such as eyes, brain, kidneys, liver and spine, the dangers of complications from diabetes increase quickly.

Chewing tobacco causes excessive teeth and gum issues not to mention the chance of mouth or throat cancer. It also raises blood sugar and that can cause ineffective results from any medications being taken or exacerbate the physical problems associated with diabetes. Diabetics have lower immune systems and are more prone to mouth and gum disease or poor oral hygiene overall.

Using tobacco and being diabetic can affect your sex life too. The Boston University Medical Center reports that about half of men who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will develop erectile dysfunction within five to 10 years of their diagnosis. If those men also contract heart disease, their odds of becoming impotent are even greater.

The Need to Quit

Once your body’s system of keeping itself healthy is so greatly compromised, it begins to breakdown quickly in many ways. On its own, diabetes can cause painful skin ulcers in the lower legs or feet that won’t heal on their own and, at its worst, can call for an amputation. The disease can also set you up for serious heart and kidney issues.

The stakes are too high to leave diabetes unattended and continue using alcohol and tobacco. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and are struggling with alcohol addiction, seek help. Use our directory of addiction treatment centers or call 800-772-8219 to find a professional who can place you in a proper plan of recovery.



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