Smoking And Chronic Disease

Many people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and diabetes still find it very difficult to completely quit smoking. Chronic disease conditions such as these can be life altering, as well as physically and emotionally painful.

Often, individuals with these conditions are well aware of the dangers of smoking, which serves as a testament to the addictive power of nicotine. Until a patient quits smoking for good, a disease must sometimes be managed along with a smoking habit, no matter how much smoking may worsen the condition.

In this section, we’ll discuss the challenges of living with COPD and smoking, smoking with diabetes and smoking with asthma. Smoking even one cigarette a day may exacerbate these conditions. However, there are ways to live with smoking, chronic disease and other daily pressures as you move toward and through the quitting process.

COPD and Smoking

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can often take the form of chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both. COPD medications–such bronchodilators or glucocorticosteroids–may ease a patient’s symptoms. If you have COPD and smoking cessation is difficult for you, your doctor can help you decide which medication may be right for you.

Lifestyle choices may also help control your symptoms. If you have COPD, avoid taxing activities and consider respiratory therapy to maximize your air intake and oxygen absorption. You may also want to talk your doctor about oxygen supplementation through the use of a facemask.

Asthma from Smoking

Like COPD, asthma from smoking may lead to symptoms that can sharply interfere with a smoker’s quality of life. Quitting smoking can significantly improve lung function for asthma sufferers, so quitting is obviously the best option. But if you’re living with asthma from smoking, the reality of your situation may not be so simple.

As with COPD, symptom management should be a priority for asthma patients who aren’t yet ready to quit smoking. It may be a good idea to keep a diary in order to record asthma triggers, peak flow readings and the use of rescue medications. Smokers with asthma may also benefit by reducing their levels of stress.

Smoking with Diabetes

Smoking with diabetes can exacerbate an existing risk of retinal damage, neuropathy and kidney disease. Even if you don’t have Type 2 diabetes already, smoking can increase your risk of developing it. If you’ve already been diagnosed, a smoking habit can make it more difficult to manage your diabetes symptoms.

Until you’re ready to quit, regular healthcare visits, diligent glucose monitoring and a healthy lifestyle are your best defenses against diabetes progression.


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