What does the progression of COPD and type 2 diabetes look like?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Five years ago my 71 year-old husband was diagnosed with severe COPD.  Four years ago he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. He's on 2,000 Metforium, 40 Glyspide, 96 IU am and 86 IU pm 70/30. He's really going down. I'm a nurse but don't know how long this can keep going. What can I expect next?  He's getting weaker, spending less time out of bed and eating more.  He weighs 260 now.

Expert Answer

Karen Earle, M.D. is medical director of Diabetes Services at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

I am worried that your husband's decreased mobility is contributing to his increased weight and progression of diabetes.  Even small amounts of exercise can improve a person's sensitivity to insulin, and therefore decrease the need for more insulin or diabetes medications.  It is difficult to exercise with COPD, but any limited exercise will be of benefit to his diabetes.   I would also encourage him to monitor his diet to prevent overeating, which will also contribute to weight gain.