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A New Perspective on Exercise for Type 2 Diabetic Patients

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Diabetes is a condition that affects approximately 17 billion people worldwide.

Diabetes arises from an interplay of genetics, physical inactivity, dietary choices, environmental factors and deviation from the normal hormonal balance of the body. Once diagnosed presents a high burden not only to the patient but also to their respective families.

Appropriate control of the blood sugar levels either by conventional and pharmacologic method prevents unwanted complications of diabetes. Conventional treatment involves dietary restrictions and increasing one’s physical activity such as taking 10 minute leisurely or brisk walking which unfortunately is considered as the most difficult barrier among diabetics especially women.

Females who are Type 2 diabetics were selected as subjects in several studies due to the fact that they have much worse outcomes with regards to exercise and function of the cardiovascular system. It is also with this consideration in mind that females are the ones who are doing most of the household chores and are most likely to miss out on the things that they should be doing once diagnosed by the disease making them fall into a vicious cycle of poor metabolism after eating a large meal and adapting to physical inactivity.

The Diabetes Study

A recent study on women with Type 2 diabetes were subjected to less than an hour physical activity showed an increase on the level of effort and a higher score on the rating of perceived exertion as compared to their non-diabetic counterparts. The perceived effort is owed to the inability of one’s body to channel the nutrition derived from the food intake to fuel and redirect blood flow to the exercising muscles. As a result, women with diabetes find it more apt to continue the usual daily routine without exercise.

Lactic acid is normally produced in the muscle cells and its increase is proportional to the level of exertion seen during intense exercise. Female Type 2 diabetic patients and control non diabetic subjects were made to exercise in a progressing level of difficulty and blood was withdrawn and analyzed for lactate levels. Diabetic females have a higher lactate levels in the circulation which causes them to feel fatigued faster than the non-diabetic group.

Factors in the faster feeling of exhaustion among female diabetic patients during exercise needs further studies in order to discover more ways to help these patients overcome the feeling of tiredness thereby discouraging them from engaging into exercise routines to help them get fit the healthier way.

In summary, clinicians and educators should encourage and educate patients to find a suitable exercise routine they are comfortable with in order to bring their blood sugar levels to normal or near normal levels for them to avoid the adverse complications of diabetes.

To know more about diabetes, feel free to read our other articles on this site.

Written by: Dr. Christine Ena Carado