The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Diabetes mellitus is an umbrella term for a group of diseases that affects 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 responds poorly to fighting infections. This includes fighting lung diseases.
Diabetes and Lung Disease
As a result of a poorly functioning immune system, people with diabetes are more likely to catch a cold, flu or other illness that will likely require 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. In fact, several lung diseases can affect diabetes and vice versa.
Diabetes can contribute to the development of pneumonia, tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pneumonia is caused by an infection and consequential inflammation which puts pressure on the lungs and 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 caught because of cold weather. When diabetes goes untreated, it can lead to the occurrence of severe breathing difficulties in extreme temperatures associated with pneumonia.
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterial infection and is very contagious. However, not everyone who gets infected with the bacteria develops tuberculosis. For those of us in the US, 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.
One of the most general causes of COPD is smoking. Recently, studies have been produced suggesting 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 become 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.