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Question:

From Rochester, New York, USA:

A friend of mine is 25 years old and was diagnosed with Type 1 at around 12 years old. I learned from a teacher of mine that nicotine can reduce the production of insulin. He chews tobacco every so often and I wondered whether he would have fewer diabetic "attacks" if he didn't "dip". I understand that tobacco can be a danger for anyone, but for someone with little-to-no insulin as it is, do you think the nicotine is effecting him greatly?

Answer:

If your friend has had Type 1A or autoimmune diabetes for over 12 years and has been on insulin all this time then it is very unlikely that he is producing any of his own insulin which might be affected by chewing tobacco. Besides that, nicotine does have a certain anti-stress effect which could signficantly help control. Against this however has to be set the very clear evidence, less for chewing tobacco than for smoking, that tobacco enhances the risk of both micro and macro vasccular complications in people with diabetes. Finally, it does sound as though what would help your friend most would be a thorough medical evaluaton of his level of control to see if there aren't other ways to improve blood sugar levels. I'm thinking of the newer insulins, of more intensive dosage regimens, of other techniques to reduce stress and even perhaps of an insulin pump.

DOB

Original posting 17 Mar 1999
Posted to Hypoglycemia

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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