Fear of hypos stops many people with Type 1 doing exercise

A study carried out by Dr Jordan Pinsker and his team at the William Sansum Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara, California, found that many people with Type 1 diabetes have difficulties with blood glucose control when exercising with the risk of early- and late-onset hypoglycaemia following exercise. The team wanted to see if reducing this risk may be possible with carefully considered changes in carbohydrate intake and insulin use. They examined exercise preparations and insulin management techniques used by individuals with Type 1 diabetes before and after physical activity and looked at whether use of differing diabetes technologies affects these health-related behaviours.

Just over 500 adults from the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange’s online patient community, Glu, were studied. In the study they had to complete an online survey, which focused on diabetes self-management and exercise. The study found that 79% of people increased their carbohydrate intake before and 66% of people after exercise. The survey also found that 53% of people said they would decrease their meal insulin dose before exercise, while 46% would decrease it after exercise. Another finding was that 77% of those recorded said they would make sure their blood glucose levels were at a target blood glucose number before beginning exercise. Despite these changes to their type 1 management, 70 per cent of people reported low blood glucose levels after exercise, which means that better methods need to be found to manage Type 1 diabetes and exercise.

People in the study stated that exercise makes their blood glucose levels harder to control and makes them feel less able to predict these levels while exercising and the fear of low blood glucose levels keeps them from exercising. These findings highlight the need for exercise-management strategies tailored to individuals’ overall diabetes management are needed for people to better manage their condition and avoid hypos.

This news item first appeared in Desang Diabetes Magazine, our free-to-receive digital journal. We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes kit) and news about food suitable for a diabetic diet. Go to the top of this page to sign up – we just need your email address.

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