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Smoking boosts death risk for diabetics.

Smoking boosts death risk for diabetics

A new report suggests the well-known hazards of smoking are magnified for women who have Type I diabetes, the insulin-dependent form of this sugar processing disease.

Claudia Scala Moy and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh studied 548 Type I men and women age 17 to 40. The team reports in the July CIRCULATION that smoking, especially heavy smoking, boosted the risk of death for both sexes, but especially for the female diabetics.

"Diabetics just shouldn't even think of smoking", diabetes specialist W. James Howard at the Medlantic Research Foundation in Washington, D.C. told SCIENCE NEWS. Howard wrote an editorial accompanying Moy's article.

Type I diabetic women have a risk of death 10 times higher than women of similar age in the general population, Moy reports. However, heavy smoking (a pack of cigarettes per day for five years) ups the chance of dying 20-fold for these diabetic women, the researchers found.

The Type I diabetic male's risk of death is generally six times higher than men in the general population, a figure that rises to 10 times greater for these men who smoke heavily.

The researchers can't explain the difference between the sexes, but speculate that smoking may give diabetic women a double-whammy risk of heart disease compared to their female peers in the general population. Diabetes predisposes people to heart disease and smoking may accelerate that process.

In a separate analysis, Moy's team found virtually identical smoking rates among 156 Type I diabetic and non-diabetic siblings. That suggests people with diabetes don't get or heed the anti-smoking message, despite their high-risk status and frequent contact with the health system, Moy says.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 28, 1990
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