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Diabetes and the benefits of exercise for diabetic sufferers – Part 1

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PART ONE

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition characterised by hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) due to insulin resistance or insulin deficiency. Long term complications of diabetes include; neural, retinal, renal and cardiovascular complications.

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 is an autoimmune disorder characterised by a deficient or non-existent insulin secretion by the panaceas. Type 2 diabetes (the most prevalence type) is a disease that most probably occurs due to poor lifestyle choices e.g. inactivity, high fat diet and obesity, resulting in high blood glucose due to an insulin resistance and/or an insufficient secretion of insulin, however the cause is still unknown. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95% of the total diabetic patients, leaving only 5% of the diabetic patients suffering from type 1 diabetes.  This highlights that long-term poor lifestyle choices are a major contributor to the type 2 diabetic phenomenon which is steadily increasing in Australia and in the western world. This underscores the importance of healthy lifestyle program interventions to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes or to manage the condition in current sufferers to prevent the onset of long term complications.

 

Exercise benefits in patients suffering Type 2 diabetes?

Exercise is an important, if not the most important treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes. The goal of exercise and other treatment modalities is to reduce and maintain near normal blood glucose levels and optimal lipid levels in the aim to prevent or prolong the onset of diabetic complications. Exercise acts to reduce insulin resistance, allowing the muscles and other organs to uptake the glucose circulating the blood, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. This process, over an extended period of time participating in physical activity, will lead to improved blood glucose and lipid levels.  Exercise will also have other important benefits including; weight management, improved cardiovascular functioning, improved physical function and physiological benefits.

To ensure patient safety, blood glucose should be monitored regularly to ensure no abnormalities occur. Food and diabetic medication intake should be scheduled around when exercise is performed to ensure a safe blood glucose level. 

Stay tuned for part 2 in the upcoming weeks!

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