Healthy Thursday: Diabetes and Lungs


As you know from my short biography “Silver Linings on Dark Clouds: My Life with Alport’s Syndrome” I developed Diabetes after I started taking immunosuppressants for the kidney transplant.  I had no idea that there were lung complications as a result of Type 2 Diabetes!  In recent years, Dr.’s have prescribed even more medications that raise blood sugars that lead to diabetes.  Here is more information on Diabetes and lung issues:

Lung Conditions

A study published in Diabetes Care compared the health records of more than 1.8 million California residents with and without diabetes. The research found that adults with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes are:

  • 8% more likely to have asthma

  • 22% more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • 54% more likely to have pulmonary fibrosis, a disease in which scarring in the lungs interferes with your ability to breathe

  • Nearly twice as likely to have been hospitalized for pneumonia

Lung Function

If you have type 2 diabetes, you have decreased lung function compared with people who don’t have diabetes. Lung function is a measure of how well you’re breathing. It also refers to how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your body. If you have type 2 diabetes, you tend to have 3% to 10% lower lung volumes than adults who do not have the disease.

Generally, reduced lung function won’t interfere with your daily life. However, it could cause issues if you are obese, smoke, or have lung disease. Poor lung function can also be a problem if you have heart failure orkidney failure, two diabetes complications.

Having diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you have bad lung function. Some studies show that lung function gets worse as blood glucose levels increase. The longer you’ve lived with diabetes, the worse your lung function may be.

In some studies, people who developed diabetes had low lung function to begin with. This has led some experts to wonder if poor lung health might contribute to diabetes. However, this idea hasn’t been proven.

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