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Poor Sugar Control in Diabetics Affects Lungs

Mon Mar 15, 2004

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The findings from a new study provide yet another reason for diabetics to keep close control of their blood sugar--impaired lung function. In fact, the higher the sugar level, the worse the lungs seem to function.

Dr. Timothy M. E. Davis, of the University of Western Australia, in Fremantle, and colleagues examined the link between sugar levels and lung function in 495 type 2 diabetic patients with no history of lung disease.

At the start of the trial, the participants underwent lung testing between 1993 and 1994. A subset of 125 patients were re-examined about 7 years later.

The researchers report that from the start all of the patients showed lung function that was slightly lower than expected in the general population. Moreover, this function continued to deteriorate a little bit each year in the follow-up group.

Poor sugar control was a strong predictor of worsening lung function, the researchers note in the medical journal Diabetes Care. In turn, impaired lung function was tied to an increased risk of death.

The team concludes that the data "support the suggestion that the lung is a target organ in diabetes," and that intensive sugar control may reduce mortality "through improved ventilatory function independent of other beneficial effects."

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, March 2004.

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