- Open Access
The association of obesity with the development of obstructive lung disease, namely asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has been found to be significant in general population studies, and weight loss in the obese has proven beneficial in disease control. Obese patients seem to present with a specific obstructive lung disease phenotype including a reduced response to corticosteroids. Obesity is increasingly recognized as an important factor to document in obstructive lung disease patients and a critical comorbidity to report in diabetic patients, as it may influence disease management. This report presents data that contributes to establishing the relationship between obstructive lung disease in a diabetic cohort, a population highly susceptible to obesity.
A total of 1003 subjects in community practice settings were interviewed at home at the time of enrolment into the Vermont Diabetes Information System, a clinical decision support program. Patients self-reported their personal and clinical characteristics, including any history of obstructive lung disease. Laboratory data were obtained directly from the clinical laboratory, and current medications were obtained by direct observation of medication containers. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the interviewed subjects to assess a possible association between obstructive lung disease history and obesity.
In a multivariate logistic regression model, a history of obstructive lung disease was significantly associated with obesity (body mass index ≥30) even after correcting for potential confounders including gender, low income (<$30,000/year), number of comorbidities, number of prescription medications, cigarette smoking, and alcohol problems (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.58, P = 0.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05, 2.37). This association was particularly strong and significant among female patients (OR = 2.18, P = < 0.01, CI = 1.27, 3.72) but not in male patients (OR = 0.97, P = 0.93, CI = 0.51, 1.83).
These data suggest an association between obesity and obstructive lung disease prevalence in patients with diabetes, with women exhibiting a stronger association. Future studies are needed to identify the mechanism by which women disproportionately develop obstructive lung disease in this population.