Smoking linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes

December 12th, 2007 - 1:16 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 12 (ANI): Smokers have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a review of previous studies has indicated.

Carole Willi, M.D., of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies describing the link between active smoking and the incidence of diabetes or other glucose metabolism irregularities.

They looked at 25 studies, which were published between 1992 and 2006. The number of participants per study ranged from 630 to 709,827, for a total of 1.2 million participants. A total of 45,844 new cases of diabetes were reported during a study follow-up period ranging from 5 to 30 years.

The data indicated that active smokers have a 44 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with non-smokers. Further analyses suggested a dose-response relationship between smoking and diabetes, with the association stronger for heavy smokers (20 or more cigarettes/day; 61 percent increased risk) compared with lighter smokers (29 percent increased risk). The association also was weaker for former smokers (23 percent increased risk) than it was for active smokers.

We conclude that the relevant question should no longer be whether this association exists, but rather whether this established association is causal, the researchers said.

They added that the research couldnt prove causality, but that the studies in this review do meet several recommended criteria for causation.

First, there is an appropriate temporal relationship: the cigarette smoking preceded diabetes incidence in all studies. Second, the findings are consistent with a dose-response relationship, with stronger associations for heavy smokers relative to lighter smokers and for active smokers relative to former smokers. Third, there is theoretical biological plausibility for causality, in that smoking may lead to insulin resistance or inadequate compensatory insulin secretion responses according to several but not all studies, they said.

Conversely, there are also possible non-causal explanations for this association. Smoking is often associated with other unhealthy behaviours that favour weight gain and/or diabetes, such as lack of physical activity, poor fruit and vegetable intake, and high alcohol intake.

Considering the consistent finding of increased diabetes incidence associated with active cigarette smoking across a large number of studies, we believe that there is no need for further cohort studies to test this hypothesis. However, there is a need for studies that include detailed measurement and adjustment for potential confounding factors such as socio-economic status, education, and exercise with a goal of establishing whether the association with smoking is causal. We recommend that future studies focus on plausible causal mechanisms or mediating factors such as obesity, lack of physical activity, dietary habits, and stress levels, they added.
The review is published in the December 12 issue of JAMA. (ANI)

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