Diabetes and Lung Disease: Is Your Immunity at Risk?

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diabetes and lung disease

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 the lungs. Diabetes and lung disease are closely connected and they can directly impact your immunity levels.

Diabetes increases the risk of lung complications and weak immune systems. In this article, we decode everything about lung health and the relationship between sugar levels and their effect on the lungs.

The respiratory system consists of the following parts:

respiratory system

  • Mouth and nose
  • Trachea
  • Lungs
  • Diaphragm

What are the Factors that Affect Lung Health?

Lungs play a crucial role in drawing in air through the nose/mouth and the tiny air sacs called alveoli to absorb the tiny blood vessels. The lungs comprise a branched structure called the bronchi and smaller airways called the bronchioles. Prolonged sugar levels are known to result in a weak immune system and affect lung health.

diabetes and lung disease

Smoking

Did you know there are over 600 ingredients in cigarettes and when burned it creates over 7000 chemicals? The leading cause of lung complications is smoking. Amongst the chemicals created, at least 69 chemicals are known to cause cancer.

Air pollution

Another major factor impacting lung health is air pollution. Particle pollution, a mix of liquid and tiny particles, is present in the air we breathe and is known to be dangerous. Such particles often come from power plants, diesel truck exhaust, wood smoke, etc, and affect people with weak immune systems.

Read More: Does Air Pollution Increase the Risk of Diabetes?

Genetics

In certain cases, the cause of weak lung health is nothing but genetics. A family with a history of complications with the heart or lungs or a weak immune system can increase the risk of getting the disease. Although, to date, no gene has been discovered, however, studies have shown a common link between 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 systems, 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 is 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 Kussmaul 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.

exercise

Tips to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

Now that we know the factors that can impact your heart and lungs for people with weak immune systems. Here are a few ways to keep your lungs healthy:

  • Avoid smoking as much as possible. Cigarette smoking is one of the major causes of 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 having a good nutrition intake can help in eliminating lung complications and keeping 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 improves overall performance.

Read More: Diabetes and Cancer: Major Risk Factors and Early Care

Even though the connection between sugar levels and lung health has 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 levels and ensure you take the necessary action to keep your lungs healthy. Monitor your glucose levels regularly!

Author – Shahana Khatoon

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