National Diabetes Week 2022

By Nick Kinnear

This week is National Diabetes Week, with the focus of 2022 being awareness around diabetes. First, let’s learn the differences between the two types. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition unrelated to modifiable lifestyle factors. For sufferers of type 1, the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, which means blood glucose levels have to be controlled with prescribed insulin. It is currently a non-reversible condition. Usually, it is diagnosed in younger years, commonly before 30 years old.

Type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, alcohol, and lack of exercise. Insulin then becomes unable to control glucose as we digest it from our food, leading to insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose. Elevated glucose levels are a concern as they can lead to damage of the nervous system. Type 2 is usually diagnosed mid-late life after a gradual build up over a number of years. This type is reversible in most cases however a long-term view should be taken under the guidance of medical professionals. 

Type 2 Diabetes Pathway

Normal BGL → Elevated Fasting Glucose → Impaired Glucose Tolerance → T2DM

The best way to prevent diabetes type 2 is to hit the weekly exercise guidelines of 150 mins per week of exercise. This should be on top of eating a balanced diet, avoiding cigarette smoking and limited time spent sitting/laying down during the day. 

If a diagnosis of type 2 is received, treatment should include both a mix of lifestyle and medical interventions. Medical treatment for type 2 diabetes involves blood glucose monitoring, medication to help lower and control blood glucose and in some severe cases surgery may be performed. A lifestyle intervention for type 2 diabetes should be centred around diet and exercise, meeting the guidelines and recommendations for both. 

Exercise recommendations for type 2 diabetics includes both resistance training and aerobic exercise. For aerobic exercise, the recommendations are for 210 minutes of moderate exercise or 125 mins of vigorous exercise. The differences in duration is to account for the difference in intensity For resistance training 60 minutes per week consisting of at least 2 sessions is recommended. Aerobic exercise can include walking, swimming, bike riding or dancing. Resistance training can be gym or home based, with exercise that provides resistance to the body. The reason we are recommended to complete both is the different effect each one can have on the body. Aerobic exercise is important for heart and lung health while resistance exercise targets the muscular system to help better manage glucose. 

Exercise is also recommended for type 1 diabetics, as it can help to reduce the chance of other diseases developing. This is especially important for heart health in type 1 diabetics, as the risk of heart disease is higher than the general population. Exercise can also help improve the sensitivity of insulin, meaning post-exercise your body is likely to require less insulin to process glucose compared to no exercise. 

Before commencing exercise, it is best to check in with your GP or trusted health professional. Additional precautions should be taken from those suffering with other conditions seperate to diabetes. If you would like to learn more about how exercise is beneficial treatment for diabetes, or get started on a program please get in touch with us here at Comet healthcare. 

Type 2 diabetes specific classes ran Monday and Wednesday at 4pm, 6 High Street.