Exercise Improves Outcomes in Type 2 Diabetes

In a world that offers a medication for every ailment, it is often overlooked that living a healthy lifestyle is the ultimate treatment for various diseases. In type 2 diabetes, it can be very difficult to reach goal A1C even with many medications at our disposal. Type 2 diabetes is monitored by A1C value. A1C is the average blood glucose over a 3 month period measured as a percentage. Most patients with diabetes will have a goal A1C of <7% but may be higher or lower depending on certain factors (age, hypoglycemic risk). Most medications lower A1C about 1% each; some more, some less. Often multiple medications are used together to reach an A1C goal. For more information on A1C see : http://diabetesdailypost.com/understandinfg-what-should-my-a1c-level-be/ While medications can help control diabetes, exercise and a healthy, balanced diet can prevent worsening of diabetes, and can even work better than medications. Lifestyle modification is a critical part of management of blood sugars.

Exercise can lower A1C and blood sugars even when weight loss is not experienced. There are also other added benefits from exercise such as increased cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and improved insulin sensitivity. The American Diabetes Association recommends following the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ physical activity guidelines for Americans. These guidelines recommend that adults over the age of 18 years participate in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 150 minutes/week or 75 minutes/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. The guidelines also recommend for adults to participate in weight-bearing exercises that involve all major muscle groups at least twice weekly.

Exercise may demonstrate a dramatic reduction in blood glucose levels that may require dose adjustments in certain medications. So if you begin exercising it is important to monitor your blood glucose levels and inform your healthcare provider so that your medication doses can be lowered or discontinued if needed. When exercising, it is important to stay hydrated and prevent low blood sugar reactions (hypoglycemia). Make sure to carry a glucose source with you in case you need it. For more information on the prevention and management of Hypoglycemia: http://diabetesdailypost.com/understanding-the-management-of-low-blood-sugar-hypoglycemia/

Whether you have had diabetes for 2 years or 20 years or you are at risk of developing diabetes, exercise will be of benefit to you. Through directly reducing blood glucose levels and increasing insulin sensitivity, exercise prevents the onset and slows the progression of diabetes. You should speak to your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.

This Article is Brought to you By Our Guest Staff Writers:
Brandon Gullison, PharmD Candidate 2016
‎Damian Bialonczyk, PharmD, MBA Fellow, MCPHS University
Jennifer Goldman, PharmD, CDE, BC-ADM, FCCP Professor of Pharmacy Practice, MCPHS University
Clinical Pharmacist, Well Life Medical, Peabody