Exercise and Diabetes

Those of us at the coffee club this morning got a good laugh when one of the members starting sharing her knowledge about diabetes. No, there is absolutely nothing funny about diabetes. But it was funny to realize our dear Uncle Bud knew less about the subject than Fran. But that did not keep Uncle Bud from injecting his thoughts when he could.

Fran recently learned she has diabetes and has made up her mind to do all she can to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise is one thing the diabetic needs. Because most everyone is touched by diabetes like Fran or with a loved one being a diabetic it is important to know that exercise can lower blood glucose levels and help muscles use glucose more effectively. Physical fitness can help with obesity which sometimes causes the body to resist insulin. People with diabetes have a major threat of heart disease. Exercise can help reduce these risks and also help maintain a healthy blood pressure level. Other benefits of regular exercise programs for people with diabetes are improved cardiovascular fitness, improved flexibility, and improved muscle strength. We would have been disappointed if at this point if Uncle Bud had not pointed out that these are the same benefits that people without diabetes enjoy from a regular exercise programs.

There is just no way around it the human body needs exercise. Exercise can help us with weight management and other serious health issues. We already know how exercise affects our weight which in turns affects our health. But it seems to surprise some of us to learn how important exercise is for someone with diabetes.

While Fran plans to get on a regular exercise program she shared with us that for some diabetics exercise is risky. If the diabetic has any foot deformities, nerve damage, or circulatory changes, walking could cause additional problems. It is important to check your feet before and after exercise. Look for any changes and be sure to wear proper fitting shoes. Uncle Bud reminded us, once again, that socks need to fit properly too. Gotta love Uncle Bud.
Another problem can be hypoglycemia which is an abnormally low level of glucose in the blood. This can happen if you are on medicine to lower your glucose because exercise enhances their effects. Do not let this keep you from exercise but do carry a source of carbohydrate with you. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia are shakiness, sweating, blurred vision, dizziness, or headaches.

Diabetics who have impaired nerve sensations may not experience the typical signs, such as chest pain, if they are having a heart attack. Because of this they do not need to over exercise.

Sometimes diabetes causes eye damage. If this is the case they may need to avoid strenuous, jarring exercise.
Now it was time for Uncle Bud to shine again with his words of wisdom. He told us, and we all agreed that Fran should talk to an expert in the field who can help her with a custom-tailored exercise program.
Do you think it would be a safe bet to expect Uncle Bud to brush up on his knowledge of diabetes before our next meeting?

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