More than 60% of individuals diagnosed with diabetes do not exercise. Though it is the first and one of the most effective forms of treating diabetes. Despite the clear evidence, individuals with type II diabetes are among the least likely to engage in exercise.
Much of the evidence that comes today points towards inflammation as a large cause of many diseases. Shown in the laboratory, chronic inflammation, characterized by increased levels of circulating cytokines contribute to the onset of chronic disease. Evidence suggests chronic inflammation can escalate the development of many diseases, such as insulin resistance, pancreatic cell death, atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration, and tumor growth. Chronic inflammation is apparent in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and many other chronic conditions.
Diabetes mellitus occurs in two forms, type one diabetes and type two diabetes.
Type I diabetes is typically referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. Although referred to as juvenile diabetes, it can also develop in adult years. The exact cause of type I diabetes is still unknown, but genetics and environmental factors play a role. Ultimately the immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Type I diabetes is diagnosed when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. When insulin is not produced, sugar cannot make its way into the cells that circulate the body, thus altering energy production. Research continues, but there is currently no cure. Individuals must manage the condition with insulin, diet and lifestyle modifications.
Type II diabetes is typically referred to adult-onset diabetes, but it can be diagnosed in children. The exact causes of type II diabetes are unknown, but obesity and inactive lifestyles are contributing factors. Similar to type I diabetes, those with type II do not have an efficient insulin producing system within the pancreas. Circulating cells are a factor, they respond poorly to produced insulin and take in less sugar. Individuals with type II diabetes are too waiting on a cure but medication, insulin and a steady state of exercise in order to lose excess body weight are key management strategies.
Exercise is a crucial part in managing diabetes mellitus, it is of the first strategies for patients living with type II diabetes. However, even prior to diagnosis, prediabetes may be diagnosed. This occurs when blood glucose levels are above normal ranges, but not sufficiently elevated to be considered diabetes. Those diagnosed with prediabetes are at a greater risk for developing two II diabetes.
Diagnosed with both prediabetes and type II diabetes means an individual is at an increased risk for developing further complications. Exercise improves glycemic control, by increasing glucose uptake into the active muscles and inhibiting glucose production from the liver. Exercise also reduces A1C levels, triglycerides, and blood pressure. In fact, regular exercise has the power to delay, prevent, and reverse much of the disturbances caused by type II diabetes.
As the aging process continues individuals may develop a number of common conditions. The first of which being neuropathy, directly related to diabetes, as well as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the age related loss of muscle mass that creates greater challenge for aging populations. While neuropathy is damage to neurons within the legs that may cause numbness or pain. When combined with diabetes, individuals become far less likely to exercise. Worsening complications creates scenarios in which many could not have imagined, often limiting individuals to become bed bound.
Those who do not regularly manage their diabetes put themselves at an increased risk for various complications. These complications include:
As it stands, there is not a cure for diabetes and the list of complications continues to grow as more individuals continue to live with the condition. As management remains as the only viable option, exercise and lifestyle modifications becoming increasingly important, especially as one ages.