Monday, July 22, 2013

Diabetes & Nicotine Alternative Therapy

Smoking is not healthy for anyone, but combined with diabetes, it also leads to a higher risk of heart disease. It is particularly important for people with diabetes to stop smoking. As a help, there are patches and chewing gums that give the body a small dose of nicotine, helping to relieve the craving for a cigarette and helping to break the psychological habit. Since these replacements also contain nicotine, it is extra important to monitor blood sugar levels when facing the combination of diabetes and nicotine replacement therapy.

Nicotine and Insulin

Nicotine inhibits the release of insulin into the body, leaving all smokers, including diabetics, with a higher level of blood sugar. In addition, high blood sugar suppresses the appetite, and for a diabetic, it is very important to eat at regular intervals in order to keep the blood sugar at a steady level. During nicotine replacement therapy, diabetics must eat regular, healthy meals.

Nicotine Patches, Gum and Lozenges

A nicotine patch is worn continuously for 16 hours, and the nicotine (in the patch) is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. This will produce a lower amount of nicotine than smoking, but since it is continuous, it is enough to help prevent withdrawal symptoms and the craving for a cigarette. The patches come in different strengths, making it possible to wean a person from a nicotine dependency.

Nicotine chewing gum is different from ordinary gum; it shouldn't be chewed continuously, since this would release all the nicotine into the saliva at once. Instead, it should be chewed, slowly, a few times and then "parked" between the cheek and the gum; this will allow the nicotine to pass through the mouth into the blood.

Lozenges are also used to replace some of the nicotine that cigarettes provide. Diabetics may find this type of replacement more convenient that gum because it does not need to be parked in the cheek, and it provides the proper amount of nicotine to control cravings as needed

Some smokers find the gum or the lozenges more effective than the patches since it's possible to control the dosage; the nicotine is also absorbed into the body faster than with the patch, giving quicker relief.

Replacement Doubles the Chances for Success

If a person is physically addicted to nicotine, using a nicotine replacement almost doubles the chances to quit smoking. Most people use the nicotine replacement for between four and six months. However, and since nicotine gums or patches give lower doses than smoking would, some ex-smokers become dependent on the replacement instead, and they end up using it for years. When suffering from diabetes, it is important to get rid of the nicotine as quickly as possible, both from cigarettes themselves and from the replacement therapy.

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