Diabetes Seems to Up Risks for Lung Disease Patients

THURSDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- People with diabetes who are hospitalized for sudden worsening of symptoms of the common lung disease known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have longer hospital stays and are more likely to die than COPD patients without diabetes, a new study has found.

This might be because impairment of their immune response due to high blood sugar may result in more severe infections, explained the researchers at Liverpool Hospital in Australia.

The investigators reviewed the records of COPD patients admitted with a sudden worsening of symptoms (acute exacerbations) during 2007. The average length of stay for patients with diabetes was 7.8 days, which was 10.3% longer than the average stay of 6.5 days for patients without diabetes.

Among hospitalized patients, the death rate for COPD patients with diabetes was 8%, compared with 4% for those without diabetes, according to the report published in the June issue of the journal Respirology.

"Taken together with other studies, our study shows that diabetes was an adverse prognostic factor in COPD patients. We believe that better control of diabetes in patients with COPD could improve outcomes; in particular, reducing length of hospital stays and risk of death," study leader Dr. Ali Parappil, of the Liverpool Hospital's respiratory medicine department, said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: Respirology, news release, June 21, 2010