Type 1 Diabetes Duration Decreases Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity during Exercise

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Diabetes damages peripheral tissues; however, its effects on the lung are less known. Lung diffusing capacity (DLCO) is influenced by alveolar-capillary membrane conductance (DM) and pulmonary capillary blood volume (VC), both of which are reduced in adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D).


We sought to determine if diabetes duration affects DLCO, DM, VC, and cardiac output (Q).


24 T1D patients (10.7-52.8 years) and 24 non-diabetic controls were recruited and had DLCO, DM, VC, and Q measured at rest and during exercise (40, 70 and 90% VO2max).


When stratified into two groups based on age (young, <20.6 years old), there were no significant differences in DLCO, DM, VC, or Q (all of which were normalized to body surface area [BSA]) in the young group or in the old group. When stratified by diabetes duration (short duration, 0.33-8.9 years vs. long duration, 9.6-28 years), the T1D patients in the long duration group had lower DLCO/BSA and DM/BSA compared to the controls (p < 0.05). There were no differences in any of the variables in the short duration group.


This study has shown that duration of diabetes is associated with decrements in diffusing capacity and its components.

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