To determine whether NIDDM or plasma glucose level in subjects without diabetes is associated with reduced pulmonary function in 525 men and 714 women, 51–95 years of age.


The analysis was based on data from a community-based study, the Rancho Bernardo Study. Between 1984 and 1987, 82% of community-dwelling residents had an oral glucose tolerance test. Between 1988 and 1991, 80% had lung function assessed by spirometry (forced expiratory volume in 1 s [FEV1] and forced vital capacity [FVC]).


In analyses adjusted for age, height, and cigarette smoking, pulmonary function was not associated with known or newly diagnosed NIDDM in men or women. However, FEV1 and FVC were each independently reduced in men with diabetes of 10 or more years' duration. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) levels were correlated with FEV1 and FVC in men without diabetes. No associations were found in women.


The overall absence of an association of NIDDM with pulmonary function in these older adults may reflect survival bias and the small number of subjects with severe diabetes or diabetes of prolonged duration. The apparent relation of FPG levels to FEV1 and FVC suggests that any effect of glycemia precedes diabetes and contradicts any putative causal role for duration and severity of glycemia, however. More epidemiological studies are needed to provide further information about the relationship between NIDDM and lung function.

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