Type 2 diabetes impairs pulmonary function in morbidly obese women: a case-control study

Diabetologia. 2010 Jun;53(6):1210-6. doi: 10.1007/s00125-010-1700-5. Epub 2010 Mar 9.


Aims/hypothesis: To determine whether the presence of type 2 diabetes and the degree of metabolic control are related to reduced pulmonary function in obese individuals.

Methods: Seventy-five morbidly obese women (25 with type 2 diabetes [cases]--and 50 without diabetes [controls]) with a history of non-smoking and without prior cardiovascular or respiratory disease were prospective recruited for a case-control study in the outpatient obesity unit of a referral centre. Both groups were closely matched by age, BMI and waist circumference. Pulmonary function test included forced spirometry and static pulmonary volume measurements.

Results: Type 2 diabetic patients showed lower forced expiratory volume at 1 s (FEV1) (mean difference -11.6% of predicted [95% CI -20.4 to -2.8]; p = 0.011), and FEV1/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) ratio (mean difference -4.4% [95% CI -8.1 to -0.7]; p = 0.049), but a greater residual volume (RV) (mean difference 19.5% of predicted [95% CI 10.8-28.3]; p < 0.001). In addition, an obstructive ventilatory pattern was more frequent in diabetic patients. Significant negative correlations between FEV1 and fasting glucose, HbA1c and HOMA insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) were detected. By contrast, RV was positively correlated with fasting glucose, HbA1c and HOMA-IR. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that fasting glucose and HbA1c independently predicted FEV1 and RV.

Conclusions/interpretation: The presence of diabetes and the degree of glycaemic control are related to respiratory function impairment in morbidly obese women. Therefore, the impact of type 2 diabetes on pulmonary function should be taken into consideration by those providing care for obese people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications*
  • Obesity, Morbid / physiopathology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiration
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Blood Glucose