When one thinks about diabetes complications, the body parts that primarily come to our mind are feet, eyes, kidneys, heart, and a weak immune system. However, the risks associated with diabetes are not just limited to these parts and we often tend to forget one important part that we use every second: lungs.
Having diabetes increases the risk of lung complications and weak immune system. In this article, we decode everything about lung health and the relationship between sugar levels and its effect on lungs.
As we all are aware that the respiratory system allows the body to take in oxygen and take out carbon dioxide. The respiratory system consists of the following parts:
- Mouth and nose
What are the factors that affect lung health?
Amongst the parts, lungs play a crucial role of drawing in air through the nose/mouth and the tiny air sacs called alveoli absorb the tiny blood vessels. The lungs comprise a branched structure called bronchi and smaller airways called bronchioles. Prolonged sugar levels are known to result in a weak immune system and affect lung health.
Did you know there are over 600 ingredients in cigarettes and when burned it creates over 7000 chemicals? The leading cause for lung complications is smoking. Amongst the chemicals created, at least 69 chemicals are known to cause cancer.
Another major factor to impact lung health is air pollution. Particle pollution, a mix of liquid and tiny particles, are present in air we breathe and are known to be dangerous. Such particles often come from power plants, diesel truck exhaust, wood smoke, etc and affect people with weak immune system.
In certain cases, the cause for a weak lung health is nothing but genetics. A family with a history of complications with heart or lungs or weak immune system can increase the risk of getting the disease. Although, till date, no gene has been discovered but studies have shown a common link of genetics and lung complications
Diabetes and Lung Disease
It is still unknown exactly why diabetes and lung function are related. While certain studies state the cause to be inflammation and weak immune system, research also indicates that obesity could be another factor for lung complications. It is said that diabetes causes higher levels of inflammatory compounds including C-reactive protein.
The other ways that diabetes are known to cause lung complications are as follows:
- Studies have shown that people with diabetes are likely to develop pneumonia, tuberculosis or even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- When diabetes is left untreated, it can lead to the occurrence of severe breathing difficulties in extreme temperatures with pneumonia
- Diabetes and pulmonary tuberculosis can greatly reduce the lung function of an individual
- It is also stated that rapid breathing, also known as Kussamaul breathing, is likely to be a symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Ketoacidosis is a condition caused due to the presence of high sugar levels and high levels of ketones in the bloodstream
Tips to keep Your Lungs Healthy
Now that we know the factors that can impact your heart and lungs for people with weak immune system and how to keep control sugar level, here are a few ways to keep your lungs healthy:
- Avoid smoking as much as possible. Cigarette smoking is one of the major causes for lung cancer or even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Try to lessen your exposure to indoor pollutants that can cause damage to your lungs
- Being physically active and good nutrition intake can help in eliminating lung complications and keep it healthy
- Try to minimize outdoor pollution. For instance, whenever possible, walk or ride a bicycle instead of driving. Opt for more eco-friendly options for a sustainable and healthy tomorrow
- Do deep breathing exercises on a daily basis to strengthen your lungs. The process not only helps clear out toxins built up in the lungs but improve the overall performance.
Even though the connection between sugar levels and lung health have still not been established, it is difficult to completely rule out the possibility of the former on the latter. Hence, it is best to know how to control your sugar level and ensure you take necessary action to keep your lungs healthy.