• diabetes mellitus;
  • epidemiology;
  • forced expiratory volume;
  • vital capacity


Aim To investigate whether reduced lung function is a risk factor for developing diabetes.

Methods Non-diabetic men (n = 382) from the population-based cohort ‘Men Born in 1914’ were examined with spirometry at age 55 years. The cohort was re-examined at 68 years. Diabetes and fasting plasma glucose at follow-up were studied in relation to vital capacity (VC) and forced expiratory volume (FEV1.0) at baseline.

Results Fifteen men developed diabetes during the follow-up. The percentage with diabetes in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and top quartile of vital capacity were 7%, 5%, 2%, and 1%, respectively (P for trend = 0.01). Fasting glucose (log transformed, mmol/l) at follow-up was 1.63 ± 0.16, 1.62 ± 0.18, 1.61 ± 0.11 and 1.60 ± 0.11, respectively (P for trend = 0.11). The longitudinal associations between VC and diabetes (P = 0.001) and log glucose (P = 0.036) were significant after adjustments for several potential confounders. FEV1.0 at baseline showed similar associations with diabetes at follow-up.

Conclusions The risk of developing diabetes is inversely associated with pulmonary function among middle-aged men.