Skip to content

    Asthma Health Center

    Font Size

    Asthma May Raise Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease

    Study Shows Link Between People With Asthma and Diabetes, Heart Risk

    The Role of Inflammation continued...

    “There is a link between obesity and asthma and certainly a link between obesity and type 2 diabetes,” he says.

    “More epidemiologic data is necessary before considering this a strong association,” Schachter says.

    Jerome V. Tolbert, MD, PhD, director of outreach program at Friedman Diabetes Institute of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, says the new link makes sense.

    While Tolbert says he would like to see the findings reproduced in larger studies of more diverse populations, he says that “we know that diseases like diabetes are pro-inflammatory disease and we do see these links between autoimmune diseases and diabetes.”

    Heart disease and diabetes can go hand in hand, and most [people with diabetes] die of heart disease,” he says. “There may be something here.”

    Ninety-eight percent of the new study participants were white, but asthma rates are higher among African-Americans, he says.

    Asthma is an inflammatory condition as well. “We treat asthma with steroids because of inflammation and people get better,” he says.

    Steroids used to treat asthma may also increase diabetes risk, he says, “Sometimes steroids throw people into diabetic state.”

    Given the high rates of prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes, Tolbert urges all people with asthma to get screened to see if they are at risk for diabetes.

    These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

    1 | 2

    When Is Your Asthma Worse?

    When Is Your Asthma Worse?

    Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

    Start Now

    Today on WebMD

    Lung and bronchial tube graphic
    5 common triggers.
    group jogging in park
    Should you avoid fitness activities?
    asthma inhaler
    Learn about your options.
    man feeling faint
    What’s the difference?
    Madison Wisconsin Capitol
    woman wearing cpap mask
    red wine pouring into glass
    Woman holding inhaler
    Man outdoors coughing
    Lung and bronchial tube graphic
    10 Worst Asthma Cities