Smoking can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of developing heart disease. This is a major concern for people with diabetes who are more prone to heart problems. E-cigs are an alternative to smoking, but what are the benefits and risks when you have diabetes?
- Smoking cigarettes puts people at a higher risk of developing health problems such as lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Cigarettes contain nicotine and a mixture of other chemicals that can be harmful to your health. Electronic cigarettes, referred to as e-cigarettes or e-cigs, can be used to help people stop smoking. People with diabetes have a compromised immune system and are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke. This means they should quit smoking. Using e-cigs may be a helpful way to do this.
- While trying e-cigs may be helpful, one of the risks of e-cigs is nicotine. This is the substance also found in regular cigarettes which can be addictive because it may boost your memory, improve your mood and minimize your urge to eat. Nicotine is dangerous since it increases your blood pressure, increases your risk of artery blockage and stroke. An e-cig looks like a real one, but does not contain the additional poisons found in actual cigarettes. However, e-cigs do provide nicotine. Studies have shown tissues in the blood vessels can break down as a result of constant exposure to nicotine. This leads to the formation of deposits of fat, which narrow the blood vessels and may lead to heart disease.
- E-cigs have a battery and a cartridge to hold nicotine and other liquids, such as flavorings, water and glycerin. Some are rechargeable and others are disposable. Smoking e-cigs is referred to as vaping. Because they taste good with certain flavorings, people may “vape” too often. This means they are getting more nicotine, which is addictive and dangerous. Quitting can become just as difficult as with regular cigarettes.
- Ongoing studies have been done to determine the safety of e-cigs versus the safety of using tobacco. The verdict is still out as these studies are ongoing. E-cigs look like actual ones and emit a vapor that resembles smoke. It provides a realistic experience which may be a helpful tool to eventually quit the tobacco habit. There are also people who take up e-smoking because they believe it is healthier.
- The most harmful element of cigarettes is the smoke which does not occur in e-cigs. Some studies have shown e-cigs to be safer because no smoke is involved and they contain fewer chemicals. However, recent research showed higher HbA1c levels in e-smokers who did not have diabetes. Because e-cigs are the new habit of this moment limited research is available regarding long-term health effects; this includes the impact on your blood sugar levels and damage to your blood vessels. For these reasons, if you don’t smoke it is best not to try e-cigs at all. There are no known benefits for non-smokers.
- About one-fourth of smokers who switch to e-cigs wind up kicking the smoking habit. This can be good news, but there are other ways to quit smoking. Talk to your doctor about using a low-nicotine patch system, hypnotism, acupuncture or joining a smoking cessation group. In the meantime, adapt positive lifestyle changes including exercise. Use an Omron blood pressure monitor to test your blood pressure as you try to quit smoking. Once you quit the habit, you could be pleasantly surprised by the results.
While e-cigs can help some people quit smoking, you could wind up switching one bad habit for another. Explore other ways to quit smoking and improve your health before trying e-cigs. If you decide to use them to help quit smoking, discuss it with your health care team first.