Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, throughout the body. People with diabetes suffer from high amounts of glucose in the blood, which can lead to numerous health complications and unwanted symptoms. Diabetes patients, especially those with type 1 diabetes, have an immune system that poorly fights infections and debilitating conditions. This includes fighting lung diseases.
Lung Disease and Diabetes
As a result of a poorly functioning immune system, people with diabetes are more likely to catch a cold, flu or other illnesses, and the lowered immune system means a longer period of time to recover. This can have a significant impact on blood sugar levels and the overall quality of an individual’s health. Diabetes can contribute to the development of pneumonia, tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Pneumonia and Diabetes
Pneumonia is caused by an infection, and the consequential inflammation, which puts pressure on the lungs, makes it hard to breath. The most common form of pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection, named Streptococcus pneumonia. Despite popular belief, pneumonia is not the result of fluctuating cold weather. When diabetes goes untreated, it can lead to the occurrence of severe breathing difficulties in extreme temperatures associated with pneumonia.
Tuberculosis and Diabetes
Tuberculosis is a highly contagious bacterial infection. However, not everyone who gets infected with the bacteria develops tuberculosis. For those of us in the United States, tuberculosis is fairly rare, although cases have been steadily increasing in recent years. The infection destroys the cells it comes in contact with, and this often happens in the lungs. Diabetes and pulmonary tuberculosis can greatly reduce the lung function of an individual.
COPD and Diabetes
The Effect of Smoking on Diabetics
One of the most general causes of COPD is smoking. Recently, studies have been suggested that those suffering from diabetes can also have trouble breathing. If you combine this with the effect of smoking on the lungs, then the elasticity can be severely reduced. It is this combination that makes smoking so dangerous for diabetics. If you suffer from diabetes or COPD, it is recommended that you talk with your physician immediately about doing a lung function test.
If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about how stem cells may help treat lung disease, the Lung Institute can help. Contact a patient coordinator at (800) 729-3065 to find out if this treatment could help you breathe easier.