Smoking, drinking strong predictors of mortality among type 2 diabetics

Lifestyle behaviors are strong predictors of mortality among people living with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online in the journal Diabetes Care.

Researchers in central Taiwan set out to examine the effects of tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, physical inactivity and carbohydrate intake among more than 5,600 patients aged 30 to 94 years with type 2 diabetes.

“After adjusting for the traditional risk factors, we found that combined lifestyle behavior was independently associated with all-cause mortality and mortality due to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer,” according to the research article.

The researchers found that patients with three or more of those combined lifestyle behaviors were three-and-a-half times more likely to die of a combination of the above diseases compared with patients who had none of the mentioned behaviors.

Those with three or more points also had an almost five times greater risk of diabetes-specific mortality and a more than four times greater risk of cardiovascular disease specific mortality. The combined lifestyle behavior was not significantly associated with cancer mortality.

High-risk lifestyle behaviors
According to Mayo Clinic, heavy drinking and heavy smoking can both lead to type 2 diabetes. Heavy alcohol use can cause chronic inflammation of the pancreas. This inhibits insulin secretion, causing the person to eventually develop diabetes.

Mayo Clinic states that heavy smoking of at least 20 cigarettes daily doubles a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes compared with nonsmokers. Smoking increases blood glucose levels and leads to insulin resistance.

Excessive carbohydrates in the diet lead to higher blood sugar. Planning meals using carbohydrate counting can help diabetics manage blood glucose levels. People living with diabetes must balance proteins, fats and carbohydrates for successful meal planning.

The research article will appear in the January 2012 print version of Diabetes Care.

Sources: Diabetes Care journal, Mayo Clinic, American Diabetes Association

photo by John Nyboer

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