Diabetics at a Higher Risk for Lung Disease

Diabetics at a Higher Risk for Lung Disease

Diabetic patients are always told that their disease could affect their feet, heart and kidneys, but they should also be cognizant of how diabetes could put them at greater risk for certain lung conditions.

Patients with a diabetes diagnosis are at increased risk for developing lung diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, restrictive lung disease (RLD) and pneumonia. This risk may be due to declining lung function in patients with diabetes.

Diabetes and Lung Disease

Diabetes is a disease that affects a patient’s blood glucose. This causes additional complications throughout the body, including a compromised immune system that doesn’t effectively fight infection. Because the immune system can’t easily fight off disease, bacteria, viruses and fungi can spread to the lungs and cause serious complications.

Additionally, studies have shown that those with diabetes have a reduced lung capacity. This could be caused by either high blood sugar levels that stiffen lung tissue or excess fat tissue in the chest cavity constricting the lungs.

One study found that adult patents with both Type I and Type II diabetes are 22 percent more likely to have COPD, 54 percent more likely to have pulmonary fibrosis and eight percent more likely to have asthma. In comparison to the general population, diabetics are also nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized for pneumonia.


Smoking is detrimental to anyone’s lung health, but it is especially harmful for diabetic patients. When a person has diabetes, smoking could lead to serious conditions like heart disease, poor blood flow, kidney disease, nerve damage or blindness.

For patients with diabetes, it is important to inform your doctor of any noticeable changes in lung function. Early diagnosis is the best way to maintain healthy lung function throughout your lifetime. Proper management of diabetes could also be beneficial for minimizing the risk of developing related lung diseases.

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