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05-12-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Asthma and COPD linked to diabetes risk in women


Free abstract

MedWire News: Women with a history of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, show study findings.

"Chronic airway inflammation in asthma or COPD may be involved in the pathogenesis of Type 2 diabetes; however, prospective data have been limited," explain Yiqing Song (Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and colleagues.

To investigate further, the team studied data on 38,570 women who participated in the Women's Health Study and who were free of diabetes at study entry in 1991.

Of these women, 1808 had COPD, 3368 had asthma, and 32,248 had no history of COPD or asthma at enrolment.

Over a median follow-up period of 12.2 years, 2472 women developed Type 2 diabetes, including 166 who had COPD and 332 who had asthma.

The researchers found that women with a history of asthma or COPD at enrolment were 1.37 and 1.38 times, respectively, more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes during follow-up than those without such a history.

The findings remained true after adjustment for age, smoking status, physical activity, body mass index, alcohol intake, hormone replacement therapy, a family history of diabetes, and a history of hypertension or hypercholesterolemia, the researchers note in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.

Song and team conclude: "Our study provides clear information on the relation of asthma and COPD with comorbid diabetes mellitus, indicating the importance of increasing awareness and promotion of diabetes risk reduction for patients with these chronic lung diseases."

They add: "Future evidence-based preventive strategies should be developed and implemented to improve the overall health burden in adults with asthma and/or COPD who are also at high risk for other chronic comorbidities."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

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