Breathlessness and conditions of restrictive lung disease (RLD), such as pulmonary fibrosis, may be a late complication of type 2 diabetes, according to German researchers.
As a result, the said patients with diabetes, nephropathy and breathlessness should, therefore, be examined regularly for RLD.
“We suspect that lung disease is a late consequence of type 2 diabetes”
The researchers noted that one in four patients in outpatient treatment settings experienced breathlessness, with acute and chronic lung diseases usually the main causes.
They said their study was the first to investigate whether breathlessness, interstitial lung disease and RDL could be a consequence of diabetes.
The researchers compared 110 patients with long-term type 2 diabetes, 29 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, 68 patients with pre-diabetes and 48 controls.
The study participants were examined for metabolic control, diabetes-related complications, breathlessness, and lung function.
Those with type 2 diabetes were found to be significantly more likely to suffer from breathlessness and RLD than the control group.
In addition, RLD was found in 27% of patients with long-term type 2 diabetes, in 20% of patients with newly diagnosed diabetes, and in 9% of patients with pre-diabetes.
Patients with pronounced symptoms and RLD also showed CT-morphologically a fibrosating interstitial lung disease.
There were also differences in the morphological analysis of the lung tissue of subjects with and without diabetes. Patients with diabetes had increased pulmonary fibrosis.
In addition, the study showed that RLD was associated with albuminuria, which may be an indication that lung disease and kidney disease may be associated with nephropathy, said the researchers.
The study, published in the journal Respiration, involved researchers from the German Centre for Diabetes Research and the German Centre for Lung Research at Heidelberg University Hospital.
Lead study author Dr Stefan Kopf said: “Increased breathlessness, RLD, and interstitial lung anomalies can be associated with type 2 diabetes.”
Study co-author Professor Michael Kreuter added: “The current study as well as findings from animal experiments show a significant connection between restrictive lung diseases and diabetes mellitus.”
“We therefore suspect that lung disease is a late consequence of type 2 diabetes,” said colleague Professor Peter Nawroth.