Smoking Boosts Death Risk in Type 2 Diabetes
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women with type 2 diabetes increase their death risk by smoking, but quitting can slash this risk substantially, researchers report.
The findings are based on two decades' worth of data from the Nurses' Health Study, a large, long-term study of health and disease among US female nurses.
These latest findings show that smoking boosts the already-elevated mortality risk women with type 2 diabetes face. And the risk increases along with the number of cigarettes a woman smokes per day.
Dr. Wael K. Al-Delaimy from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues collected data on more than 7,000 women with type 2 diabetes. Between 1976 and 1996, 724 of these women died, according to the report in the December issue of Diabetes Care.
Type 2 diabetics who smoked 1 to 14 cigarettes per day were 43% more likely to die than those who never smoked, the investigators found. And women who said they smoked 35-plus cigarettes a day faced a more than twofold increase in death risk.
But women who had stopped smoking for 10 years or more had only a slightly increased risk of death compared with nonsmokers. For those who had just quit recently the risk remained high, the report indicates.
Overall, smokers had higher death rates from both cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Al-Delaimy and colleagues conclude that ``mortality rates among women with diabetes are strongly related to their smoking habits, with heavier smokers having a twofold higher risk than never smokers.''
Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, and the condition can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. The researchers note that although several studies have suggested diabetics are more motivated than healthy individuals to quit smoking, their smoking rate remains high.
``Therefore,'' they write, ``greater efforts are needed to decrease smoking in this high-risk population.''