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November 26, 2001


Question from London, England:

My 31 year old partner, who has had diabetes for 15 years, stopped smoking four months ago, and since then has had severe problems with his control. He does not eat differently, but has high glucose levels even when he has trained in the gym, and he is taking 50-60% more insulin. Do you know of a connection between quitting smoking and changed insulin sensitivity? Is this normal? What can he do?


The problem may be several things at one time. For instance, smoking is associated with insulin resistance and stopping should result in less resistance and a lower insulin requirement. However, smoking cessation is associated with weight gain. If weight gain is an issue, this may overshadow other conditions impacting insulin sensitivity. I would tell him to continue with the workouts. It is much better to take more insulin and be smoke-free than smoke.