Diabetes appears to cause lung function to deteriorate more quickly than it normally would with age. In a study, the decline of forced vital capacity was on average 6 mL more per year in people with type 2 diabetes compared with people without diabetes.
The findings were part of a larger study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The ARIC study involves 15,792 adults in four communities. The data for these findings are based on 3 years of follow-up of 1,100 people with diabetes and 10,162 without diabetes. Earlier findings from this study found that reduced lung function precedes and can predict future onset of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers write that their findings "support the notion that the lung is a target organ for diabetic injury." Although more research is needed to determine how diabetes leads to reduced lung function, previous studies suggest several possible explanations, including glycosylation of chest wall and bronchial tree proteins.
Source: Yeh H, et al., Cross-sectional and prospective study of lung function in adults with type 2 diabetes, Diabetes Care, April 2008.
|Figure. No caption available.|