diabetes and asthma

Insights and Solutions

New studies show that diabetes and asthma might be connected. They seem different, but they might affect each other in surprising ways. This article will explore the link between diabetes and asthma, the potential mechanisms behind this association, the best and worst foods for managing both conditions and explore treatment options like Jardiance, a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, a condition where the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not respond properly to insulin. It works by helping the kidneys remove glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream, thereby lowering blood sugar levels.

Worst Drinks for People With Asthma and Diabetes

  • Regular soda.
  • Energy drinks.
  • Sweetened fruit juices.
  • Alcoholic beverages that are high in sugar.
  • Sweetened iced tea.
  • Sugary cocktails.
  • Regular sweetened coffee drinks.
  • Sugary sports drinks.
  • Sweetened milkshakes.
  • Sugary flavored water drinks.

Best and Worst Foods for Asthma and Diabetes

Managing both asthma and diabetes requires careful attention to dietary choices. Here's a list of some of the best and worst foods for individuals dealing with these conditions.

Worst Foods for Asthma and Diabetes

  • Processed Sugars: High-sugar foods can lead to blood sugar spikes, which are detrimental for individuals with diabetes. Moreover, they can trigger inflammation and worsen asthma symptoms.
  • Trans Fats: These unhealthy fats are commonly found in fried and processed foods. They can increase inflammation and contribute to both conditions.
  • Sodium: Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, which is harmful to individuals with diabetes and can worsen asthma.
  • Dairy: Some individuals with asthma may be sensitive to dairy products, which can trigger or exacerbate symptoms.

Best Foods for Asthma and Diabetes

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Rich in antioxidants and fiber, these foods help control blood sugar and reduce inflammation.
  • Whole Grains: High-fiber grains like oats and quinoa stabilize blood sugar and provide sustained energy.
  • Lean Proteins: Skinless poultry, fish and plant-based proteins like tofu are excellent choices.
  • Healthy Fats: Avocado, nuts and olive oil provide healthy fats that support heart and lung health.
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The Link Between Diabetes and Asthma

Diabetes and asthma are two prevalent chronic conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. While they may seem unrelated on the surface, recent research has uncovered a significant connection between them.

Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation

One of the key factors linking diabetes and asthma is chronic low-grade inflammation. Both conditions involve the activation of inflammatory pathways in the body. In diabetes, chronic inflammation is primarily associated with insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. In asthma, inflammation occurs in the airways, leading to symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath. This shared inflammatory process suggests a potential link between the two conditions.


Obesity is a major risk factor for both diabetes and asthma. It's well-established that excess body weight can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, obesity can exacerbate asthma symptoms by placing extra pressure on the lungs and increasing inflammation. This common risk factor further strengthens the connection between the two conditions.


Hyperinsulinemia, a condition characterized by elevated levels of insulin in the blood, is often observed in individuals with insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, insulin may play a role in airway function and inflammation. Some studies have suggested that hyperinsulinemia may contribute to the development or worsening of asthma.

Diabetic Pneumopathy

Diabetic pneumopathy refers to the lung complications that can arise in individuals with diabetes. This condition may contribute to asthma-like symptoms, further blurring the lines between the two diseases. While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship, it is clear that diabetes can impact lung health.

Treatments for Asthma

Asthma can be managed effectively with various treatments. Here are some common treatments for asthma.

  • Bronchodilators: These medications relax the muscles around the airways, making it easier to breathe.
  • Inhaled Corticosteroids: They reduce inflammation in the airways, preventing asthma symptoms.
  • Leukotriene Modifiers: These drugs block the action of substances that cause inflammation and constriction of the airways.
  • Biologics: These are advanced treatments for severe asthma that target specific inflammatory pathways.

Treatments for Diabetes

Managing diabetes involves lifestyle modifications, insulin therapy and oral medications. Here are some treatments for diabetes that have also been shown to improve or reduce the risk of asthma.

  • Jardiance: Jardiance is a medicine for type 2 diabetes. In this condition, the body can't make enough insulin or use it properly. Jardiance helps the kidneys take sugar out of the blood, which lowers blood sugar levels.
  • Empagliflozin: Empagliflozin is an SGLT-2 inhibitor used to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Recent research has indicated that empagliflozin may have a positive impact on asthma as well. It reduces inflammation, improves lung function and lowers the risk of asthma occurrence in individuals with diabetes.
  • Metformin: Metformin is a commonly used medication for type 2 diabetes. It works primarily by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver while making the body's cells more sensitive to insulin. It has also been associated with a decreased occurrence of asthma, fewer exacerbations and reduced asthma-related hospitalizations. This suggests that managing diabetes with metformin can potentially benefit individuals with asthma as well.
  • GLP-1 RAs: Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) treat diabetes by mimicking the action of natural GLP-1 hormones in the body. GLP-1 is typically released from the intestine after eating and stimulates insulin secretion, reduces glucagon production, slows gastric emptying and promotes a feeling of fullness. They have also shown promise in reducing asthma exacerbations through their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Thiazolidinediones: Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are a class of medications used to treat type 2 diabetes by addressing insulin resistance by activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors in cell nuclei, which leads to improved insulin sensitivity, reduced glucose production and enhanced glucose uptake. They also have been associated with lower rates of asthma exacerbations. However, their clinical efficacy for asthma management may be limited.

Double Trouble

The link between diabetes and asthma is becoming increasingly clear, with chronic low-grade inflammation, obesity, hyperinsulinemia and diabetic pneumopathy emerging as potential mechanisms for this association. Managing both conditions requires careful attention to diet and lifestyle choices, with a focus on anti-inflammatory foods and regular physical activity. As our understanding of the connection between these conditions deepens, healthcare providers can better tailor treatments to improve the overall health and quality of life for those affected by both diabetes and asthma.