Asthma and Diabetes: What’s the Connection?

Millions of people globally suffer from asthma and are living with diabetes too. Many even found that their diabetes and related medicines often interfere with their breathing problems or vice versa.

So it is worth looking in detail at the relationship between these health conditions and whether one problem can make the other worse.
Asthma and Diabetes

Asthma and Diabetes

Asthma is a chronic lung ailment that causes an individual’s airway to narrow, resulting in trouble breathing.

As per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, an asthma stroke in an individual can make breathing challenging and can even cause wheezing, coughing, and chest tightening.

Asthma conditions, if not treated at the right time and in the right way, may prove fatal.

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) levels are seen in the blood.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas in the body to control sugar levels. Insufficient insulin production in the body (or inability of body cells to respond appropriately to insulin or both) is a fundamental cause of this problem.

Extreme hunger, thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, blurry vision, etc., are a few symptoms of diabetes that are commonly seen.

The mix of both these diseases together in a patient can be a matter of concern as it can sometimes cause severe issues that are hard to treat and relieve.

Can Diabetes Cause Asthma Attacks?

Although diabetes mellitus and breathing problems like bronchial asthma are two different conditions, there exists a significant connection between asthma and diabetes.

Studies showed that diabetics suffer from higher rates of asthma attacks than compared with people without diabetes.

It often becomes tough for them to keep their blood sugar levels under control and, at the same time, manage their asthma problems.

Years of research conducted by health care experts proved that people with poorly controlled diabetes are more prone to weak lung functioning than those with balanced and well-controlled diabetes.

Therefore it is not wrong to say that people suffering from diabetes (type 1 and type 2) are at high risk of getting their breathing problems or asthma worse if they do not take proper steps to control their sugar consumption.

On a similar note, those who are already suffering from asthma are at higher risk of developing diabetes and therefore need to be cautious at all times.

Can Asthma Medication Cause Diabetes?

Airways are the passage from where the air gets in and out of the lungs. And as mentioned before, inflammation and swelling of the lungs’ airways is the main problem associated with allergy-induced asthma.

To fight the inflammation and swelling, doctors usually prescribe inhalers, medicines, and steroids like cortisone, prednisone, and many others.

These medications (and steroid inhaler shots) are often the reason for enhanced blood sugar levels as these interfere with the body’s cells, making it hard to utilize the insulin for normal functioning.

Long-term use of asthma medications and steroids are therefore not recommended as these can lead to many other side effects and severe health concerns that may be hard to manage.

Using additional steroids can also pose a heavier risk as it can cause your blood sugar levels to rise much higher than recommended by doctors.

Alternate asthma steroids (like Xolair – omalizumab) for managing your allergic asthma and diabetes condition is many times recommended by doctors.

Therapies like these, along with natural home remedies, can be tried out after the consultation.

Controlling Asthma and Diabetes Severity

If you have both diabetes and asthma, then you need to learn the ways to control and lead a better life by managing both your conditions simultaneously.

The main thing is to consult a physician and create a medical treatment plan with tips and strategies, which proves to be of great help in controlling asthma and diabetes together.

Asthma Controlling Tips

  • Eat foods and fish which have omega-3 fatty acids like tuna, sardines, and salmon.
  • Avoid omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep away your pets at a distance as it may cause asthma attacks

Diabetes Controlling Tips

  • Eat healthy foods, lean meats, dry beans and peas, chicken without skin, skimmed milk, whole grains, cheese, and vegetables.
  • Eat foods that have less consistency of salt and fat
  • Eat fiber foods like bread, rice, pasta, and whole-grain cereals

Exercising with Diabetes and Asthma: How Safe It Is?

We all know that regular exercise is one of the most potent ways to keep away problems such as weight gain, high blood glucose, stress, joint pain, etc.

Exercising can also help make your lungs stronger and hence manage asthma conditions.

However, people suffering from both these problems find their blood glucose levels go worse when they exercise. This is especially true for people who exercise harder than their lung capacity.

It is therefore advised that asthmatics should get indulged in mild physical activities and breathing exercises rather than running or strength training. This is important for them to manage their sugar levels to normal.

For sure, after following all the above guidelines and tips, you are going to feel a change in your diabetes and asthma condition!