Does alcohol and tobacco use increase the risk of diabetes?

Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D.

Yes, alcohol and tobacco use increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Alcohol

Although studies show that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may actually lower the risk of diabetes, the opposite is true for people who drink greater amounts of alcohol.

Moderate alcohol use is one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Too much alcohol can cause chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can impair its ability to secrete insulin and ultimately lead to diabetes.

Tobacco

Tobacco use can increase blood sugar levels and lead to insulin resistance. The more you smoke, the greater your risk of diabetes.

Heavy smokers — those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day — almost double their risk of developing diabetes, when compared with nonsmokers.

With

M. Regina Castro, M.D.

Jul. 30, 2014