Diabetes occurs more often in individuals with COPD than in the general population, however there are still many issues that need to be clarified about this association. The exact prevalence of the association between diabetes and COPD varies between studies reported, however it is known that diabetes affects 2–37 % of patients with COPD, underlining the need to better understand the link between these two conditions. In this review, we evaluated the epidemiological aspects of the association between diabetes and COPD analyzing potential common issues in the pathological mechanisms underlying the single disease.
The close association suggests the occurrence of similar pathophysiological process that leads to the development of overt disease in the presence of conditions such as systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, hypoxemia or hyperglycemia. Another, but not less important, aspect to consider is that related to the influence of the pharmacological treatment used both for the patient affected by COPD and from that affected by diabetes. It is necessary to understand whether the treatment of COPD affect the clinical course of diabetes, it is also essential to learn whether treatment for diabetes can alter the natural history of COPD.
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