Diabetics and Exercise

Importance of Physical Exercise For Diabetes Patients

Diabetics and Exercise

The importance of exercise and physical activity has been proven time and time again in a multitude of studies over the past few decades. For diabetics, exercising has been shown to be just as important as having a healthy and nutritious diet to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Even in healthy individuals, exercise helps improve blood circulation, prevents a build-up of plaque and helps oxygenate the blood, keeping the heart, vessels and the entire body healthy. Since diabetics face higher chances of cardiovascular diseases compared to other people, regular and vigorous physical activity is a crucial part to effectively reduce that risk.

Can exercise be effective in curbing or even curing diabetes?

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the importance of exercise cannot be understated. Vigorous exercising can help you fight diabetes in several important ways:

1.Exercising helps deplete glycogen from your muscles (energy storing form of glucose) which lowers your overall sugar levels

and

2. Exercise increases your overall muscle mass, which creates more space for your body to store excess sugar properly, effectively and without harm to your body.

Thus, in the case of type 2 diabetes, exercise can help greatly improve your state and potentially – eventually! – even help cure diabetes. However, this will not be the case with type 1 diabetes or even type 2 diabetes not caused by insulin resistance.

Things to know about exercising with diabetes

Timing

If you are a busy person, it is a very good idea to exercise at any time of day, whenever you can find the time for it. However, for better results, you should avoid exercising early in the mornings before your first meal. Very often people believe that exercising before eating can lead to the body using stored fat and thus weight loss. Some even believe that it’s a good way to keep blood glucose lower while exercising and throughout the day.

However, early morning exercises may be detrimental to blood glucose levels control.

Many diabetes doctors advise avoiding exercising first thing in the morning before you have your breakfast. This is because, if you haven’t yet eaten and start to vigorously exercise, your body may increase the release of glucose-raising hormones to help fuel your activity. Instead of lowering your blood glucose levels for the day, it will actually raise them! To prevent a spike in blood glucose levels, try to exercise after a meal, never before.

How much to exercise

The correct answer is as much as you can within the norm prescribed by your doctor. Generally, 2 – 2.5 hrs per week is considered ideal. By exercising this much, you should be able to significantly lower your A1C levels within a few months (for people with Type 2 diabetes). For people with type 1 diabetes, the correlation isn’t as evident, but exercising is beneficial for overall body health in any case.

What type of exercising is best for diabetes?

Both cardiovascular and strength training exercises help lower blood sugar levels allowing a balanced and healthy glycemic level. However, while any exercise is better than none, if you are looking into losing some weight and better controlling your diabetes, you should pay greater attention to anaerobic exercise as opposed to aerobic exercises.

Some of the examples of anaerobic exercises are heavy weight lifting, hill climbing, interval training and other types of weight and resistance-related exercises. Aerobic exercises are such exercises as treadmill exercising, swimming, running, dancing, aerobics classes etc. Anaerobic exercises are great for diabetes patients because they tend to increase muscle mass. Most of the body glucose is stored in the muscles, and the more you have, the more productively the glucose will be stored and used for performance as opposed to harming your body. Regular exercise will also help you achieve a toned body and more defined muscles. Regular exercise increases muscle mass in the body, which in turn makes it more effective in burning fats. This will make you lean and strong, and help you deal with any extra weight you may have.  With excess weight gone, you will experience less pressure on the joints, significantly lowering the risks of joint problems.

A lot of people, particularly those who live a sedentary lifestyle, might have a hard time starting to follow a regular exercise program. Patience is key! Try to slowly incorporate the exercise program into a daily routine, and don’t give up if it takes time and effort.  Make sure to avoid rushing anything and exerting too much as it may pose a risk such of injury or your overall health getting worse instead of better. Exercise is great for everyone, including and especially for diabetes patients. However, as with everything, it is important to monitor your health and overall state and consult with your physician if you notice any signs of pain, discomfort or any other unusual symptoms while or after exercising.

Regular exercise will also help you burn more body fat. Exercise that is more constant trains the muscles, making the body burn more fats easily. Without excess fats in the body, there will be less pressure on the joints, significantly lowering the risks of joint problems and less strain on the muscles as there is no need to exert more strength in carrying a heavy body.

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.

Diabetes and Heart Disease

Diabetes and The Risk of Heart Failure

Can Diabetes Lead to Heart problems?

One of the possibly fatal complications that can be caused by Type 2 Diabetes is diabetic heart disease. Patients with diabetes are much more predisposed to heart disease than other individuals. They have additional causes that can lead to heart disease, they can get it at younger ages, in more severe forms, and their systems are already weakened by diabetes to effectively prevent or curb heart issues. Diabetics can experience such heart diseases as diabetic cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.

Causes of heart disease in diabetic patients

One of the main reasons for heart disease in type 2 diabetes patients is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance tends to cause blood clotting, which over time can lead to blocked coronary arteries. This poses a serious risk of a heart attack and can be lethal.

Metabolic syndrome is another risk factor for heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is very common for diabetes sufferers and can be described as a combination of several or all of the following: high bad cholesterol and low good cholesterol (HDL) in your system; high blood pressure, high blood sugar; increased waistline and some others.

High blood pressure and high sugar levels may lead to atherosclerosis (build-up of plaque in the arteries) in diabetic patients, which is another risk factor for heart disease.

The number and graveness of risk factors and their consequences in the form of heart disease, of course, is a major source of concern both for a diabetic patient and their family.

However, you can be proactive and take measures to maintain and strengthen your health and prevent any possible heart complications. A change in lifestyle, diet, and level of activity may help better control diabetes and its complications. Staying on top of prescribed medications can be also vitally important.

METFORMIN AND HEART DISEASE IN DIABETIC PATIENTS

Metformin will often be the drug of choice for the pre-treatment and the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes with the purpose of controlling the disease itself and its possible complications. The journal Circulation and Heart Failure recently published an article about how Metformin is able to also prevent death from heart disease caused by diabetes.

A study conducted at Baylor College of Medicine by researchers and Michael E. De Bakey of VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas, involved 6,185 Type 2 Diabetes patients who had heart failure. Twenty-five percent of these patients were treated with Metformin. The research concluded with the following results:

  • After a two-year period, 15.8% or 246 patients who were treated with Metformin died.
  • After a two-year period, 25.5% or 1177 patients who were not treated with Metformin died.

Both of the groups that were part of the research had the same total rate of hospitalization due to heart failure as well as the rate of hospitalization. However, diabetic patients with heart failures that have undergone Metformin treatment had a higher chance of survival. The study concluded with the need for more related studies in order to discover effective therapies for patients that are diagnosed with both Type 2 Diabetes and heart failure.

Metformin belongs to a family of drugs known as biguanides (the blood sugar controlling drugs). It is one of the insulin-sensitizing drugs, that helps prevent the fluctuation of glucose between meals allowing effective weight loss. It also limits the total amount of insulin that comes from the pancreas instead of increasing it and controls the amount of glucose coming from the small intestines and liver that enters the blood flow.

Type 2 Diabetes is known to promote insulin resistance. Biguanides like Metformin attack the disease at the root. In general, Metformin is a safe medication. However, it has a range of side effects. For example, there are rare instances where patients who take the drug develop lactic acidosis, which is a serious condition. Ten to Thirty percent of Metformin users report that they experience gastrointestinal side effects, which subside over time. If you experience a similar side effect that does stay long, you can consult your doctor for the administration of a lower dose. Metformin is also known as Glucophage, Glumetza, or Fortamet in the market. These are brand names of Metformin with slightly different formulations, and they tend to cause fewer side effects.

Metformin should be taken regularly to be able to achieve its positive effects. However, there are some instances where its use should be discontinued temporarily. If you are suffering from severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting, in need of less than normal fluid intake, you should alert your doctor immediately. If you are undergoing X-ray procedures, you should also let your doctor know or ask beforehand if using Metformin when undergoing an X-ray scan is advisable.

Metformin is a popular choice to control diabetes and its possible complication in the form of heart disease as it is generically available and is cheaper than most drugs available. However, don’t forget to also pay attention to your lifestyle, your exercise regime, nutritional supplementation, and diet. All of these factors will greatly improve your chances to live healthier and happier!

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.

DIABETES AND HEART ATTACKS

Diabetes, Heart Attacks and Metformin

How do heart attack survivors respond to Metformin?

Cardio-vascular diseases are a reason behind more than half of all deaths in diabetic patients. Heart attacks – fatal and not fatal – are fairly common in diabetics. Metformin, a common drug for type 2  diabetes, has been shown to be very effective not only in preventing the development of heart disease but also after a heart attack has already occurred in diabetic patients.

A study conducted in the Cardiology Unit of the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Sweden involved a group of researchers that aimed to discover how heart attack survivors that were diagnosed with diabetes respond to different types of treatments, including metformin. In February 2011, the results of their findings were published in a journal named Diabetologia.

The subject of the study were 1,145 patients that were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and had also suffered and survived a heart attack. These patients were divided into three different groups.

  1. The first group was administered with insulin
  2. The second group was administered with metformin along with conventional treatment
  3. The third group was only provided with conventional treatment for 2.1 years

All of the patients were monitored for an average of 4.1 years. The study indicated that the number of fatal heart attacks during the monitoring period was the same in the three groups. However, non-fatal heart attack rates differed. The highest rate of heart attacks that were non-fatal was in the group treated with insulin. The group who received conventional treatment had the lowest risk in death from cancer while the group that was administered with Metformin both had low risks in death from heart attack and from cancer compared to the other patients from the other groups.

A more recent set of studies researched the mechanisms by which metformin is able to curb heart disease and help patients heal after heart attacks. The scientists from Newcastle University, Saudi Arabia, were able to create a model of a heart attack in the lab conditions. They were able to monitor the formation of the new blood vessels which is essential for the recovery after heart attack. They were also able to see that metformin enhanced the process of those blood vessels formation. Metformin has been shown to be able to lower blood glucose in the heart attack model, which is one of the factors that hinders new vessel formation. Metformin also was shown to activate a set of genes that help strengthen the new vessels and thus lead to a faster and more effective recovery.

This outcome is very promising not only in terms of using metformin to help diabetic patients who have survived heart attacks but also in developing new drugs aimed specifically at healing after heart attacks in a wider population.

Metformin, which is available in tablet form and is commonly known as Fortamet, Glucophage, or Glucophage CR is used to lower blood sugar levels. Individuals diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes commonly use it and it can also be used to prevent the development of Type 2 Diabetes for pre-diabetic patients. A Canadian study showed that the use of both Avandia and Metformin helped decrease the risk of diabetes in pre-diabetic volunteers.

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

This site is not designed to, and does not: provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, Metformin Facts provides general information for educational purposes only.

The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Metformin Facts is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this site.

DIABETES AND INSOMNIA

Relationship Between Diabetes and Insomnia

Diabetes and Insomnia – Are They Linked?

Whether diabetes and insomnia are linked and if so, in which ways exactly, has been one question that has caused countless debates among medical experts. Although plenty of evidence has shown that insomnia often occurs in diabetic patients,  the possibility of insomnia actually causing diabetes in healthy individuals still remains a question.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology published a study showing findings that may surprise you. Although the study conducted was relatively small compared to most of the available medical studies, it was still able to provide a relevant understanding of whether insomnia indeed can cause diabetes.

It has been found that interrupted or insufficient sleep in healthy individuals can affect the body’s ability to balance insulin, which may lead to insulin resistance, thus increasing chances of diabetes. A particularly alarming finding was that even a single night of lack of sleep could significantly increase the chances of diabetes in healthy subjects. Before you get worried, it needs to be said that the study was relatively small and not entirely representative. However, the finding definitely calls for further clinical research to reach a definite conclusion. Other studies have shown that diabetic patients’ condition worsens significantly when insomnia is present in their daily life. It becomes particularly bad if a person sleeps less than 6 hours per night. The lack of sleep seems to be able to majorly throw the body chemistry off and cause a whole host of consequences, not the last of which, especially for diabetics, is the blood sugar issues. It is yet unknown exactly why sleep has such a great influence on your body systems, but the effect is undeniably evident in multiple studies.

Studies have also shown links between obesity, another related factor to diabetes, and insomnia. This opens up another realm of discussion that explores the possibility of insomnia to indirectly cause diabetes in those individuals with weight issues.

One thing is definitely clear: insomnia makes any condition worse. Even completely healthy people feel off after a night of interrupted sleep. Insomnia becomes a real health hazard if it’s chronic, which often is the case in our over-scheduled, overly busy lives. Early work hours, parenting and lots of other life factors lead to interrupted or broken sleep that is never restored.

Insomnia can be present in various shapes and forms. It can be expressed in difficulty falling asleep, or broken sleep, when you seem to wake up in the middle of the night for no reason and then you are unable to go back to sleep. A lot of people, especially seniors, tend to wake up really early, before they are rested, and are unable to go back to bed. Insomnia, in general, seems to be particularly common among the elderly. It aggravates the health hazards of this already vulnerable population. As you may know, diabetes is also very common in the older population. This, combined with insomnia, can quickly wreak havoc in a  patient’s body, which is why it’s so important to try and curb insomnia, especially in older patients.

HOW TO KEEP INSOMNIA AT BAY

People most at risk of diabetic insomnia are the elderly and the people with weight management issues, particularly when the two are combined. Diabetes by itself can also aggravate insomnia through stress, medications, hormone fluctuations, pain, and discomfort. Although insomnia is almost never treated as a primary condition by itself, it is important, especially for diabetic patients, to take it as seriously as possible and take all measures to mitigate insomnia and its effects on your everyday life.

Most of the things you can do to help treat your insomnia are all related to improving your regime and overall health, as well as better sleep hygiene.

Create and maintain a routine around your sleep time. It could be a good idea to always go to bed at the same time so that your body knows when to produce more melatonin which will help you sleep. It is helpful to establish a set of relaxing, soothing activities before bed, such as a warm bath, a warm glass of decaffeinated tea or milk, or an hour with a good book in bed. Try to keep your environments dark and screen-free. Blue light from TV and phones is bad for melatonin production and has an invigorating effect on your brain which is the opposite of what you want in the evening. So try not to watch TV or read anything on your phone or tablet before going to bed, even though the temptation may be strong.

Avoid stimulants such as coffee or tea or drinks with excessive sugar. Don’t exercise or work before bed. Try to eliminate noise as well, as it can be stimulating. Keep devices, TV, and radio off.

Add a healthy exercise routine to your day. Vigorous exercising depletes excess energy, helps oxygenate your blood and releases endorphins. Together, these will help you achieve better relaxation at the end of the day.

Meditate. Meditation will help you calm your mind after the daily stresses and achieve deeper sleep faster.

If nothing else helps you maintain a healthier sleep routine, you may need to search for more comprehensive cures such as over the counter or prescription sleep aid. You may also consider homeopathic treatments like acupuncture. Definitely, consult your doctor about your insomnia concerns before you start any medications.

Suffering from insomnia disrupts a healthy lifestyle in diabetics as well as individuals not suffering from diabetes. If not treated, it can cause issues in the long run. Cure your sleep and you might notice a whole range of positive changes in your everyday life!

If you are suffering from diabetes-related neuropathy, please check out this Guide by Dr. Randall C. Labrum, Clinician, Researcher and Author. It has helped a lot of people end chronic peripheral neuropathy and regain health and well-being.

“I get so excited every time I have the opportunity to help someone with a chronic unresolved health problem. The ability to provide my expertise and experience in resolving these conditions creates a feeling of satisfaction like nothing else.”
Dr. Randall C. Labrum, Clinician, Researcher and Author

 

DIABETES AND STRESS

The Link Between Diabetes and Stress

Diabetes and Stress – How Are They connected?

A lot has been said and written about stress in the past few decades. Everyone knows that stress can have a profound effect on both your mind and your body, aggravating or even causing health conditions just like any physical factor would. When it comes to Type 2 Diabetes, patients who experience extra pressures of stress have been shown to experience faster-progressing disease. Under stress, the diabetes patients sustain more harm to their body and a generally more aggravated disease than patients that are able to successfully manage stress.  In the case of diabetes in particular and any other condition in general stress is now considered to be one of the leading causes of death as it manifests itself into a wide array of medical conditions.

Stress is defined as a reaction to pressure, both physical and emotional, that is perceived as a form of threat, both real or imagined. This response to a threat is also recognized as the “fight or flight” response that is intrinsic and natural in humans.

Stress is particularly dangerous for patients with diabetes as it is able to affect blood glucose levels. Stress affects the body’s blood sugar levels both directly and indirectly. The change in blood sugar level immediately occurs during the “fight or flight” response as the body releases cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and glucagon, the stress hormone, when a threat is perceived. Your blood sugar raises naturally so that your body has enough energy to “fight” or ” flee”.  If you closely monitor your sugar levels, you may notice that it goes up when your stress level increases and lowers when your stress levels decrease. Stress hormones release also increases your blood pressure so that you can respond to the real or perceived danger. Chronic stress can cause chronically high blood pressure, which can lead to a build-up of plaque and further damage to your arteries. This is another risk factor for Diabetic patients possibly developing cardio-vascular diseases as they are already predisposed to those just from having diabetes.

Apart from this, diabetes itself can be a cause of constant stress for a patient, simply from having to deal with the disease and medications. There are always discomfort, and side effects, and of course patients are understandably worried about their future. All of this can lead to chronic stress, and stress,a s was shown above, can aggravated diabetes, thus creating a viscous self-perpetuating cycle. This is why it is crucial to learn some stress management techniques, especially if you are a diabetic patient.

MANAGING STRESS WITH DIABETES

Knowing how to deal with stress, or stress management, is one of the best ways to lessen its impacts on your health. It is important to learn to control your emotions and reactions in your every day life. Some relaxation techniques could also be very useful in preventing complications of stress, especially when diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Exercise

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to relax and destress. Vigorous exercising helps you release endorphines – happyness hormones – that will make you feel good both in the moment and after exercising. Jogging, swimming, weight-lifting, dancing and any other exercises will not only improve your mood, but also have a range of positive physical benefits for your body. Exercise can help oxygenate your blood, clear your arteries, improve circulation and blood flow. It will help you lose weight, and make you leaner and stronger. Good muscle weight is one of the health benefits of exercise particularly important for diabetics, as high muscle weight can help store carbohydrates more efficiently and helps control blood glucose levels.

Exercise also helps you burn carbohydrates more efficiently which can help control hyperglycemia. Training and exercising can also help cut down the excess fat in your body. Excess fat, especially in the abdominal area, is one of the risk factors of diabetes and can disrupt your metabolism, your blood sugar levels and many other healthy body functions.

If you find it hard to commit to vigorous exercising, you can try something that’s less demanding, such as yoga. Another type of exercise that involves a combination of breathing and mild physical activity is Tai Chi. It is an ancient form of martial arts that is overlooked when it comes to its overall health potential.

Meditation

Meditation is an extremely powerful tool that effectively controls stress. Regular meditation, whether alone or in a group environment, can significantly bring down stress levels and relax the body. Don’t think of meditation as something religious or spiritual. Meditation can be as simple and basic as simply closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing, or just one sight, such as a view of the trees out of your window, or blue sky, something you can imagine in your mind’s eye. The important thing is to stop thinking about too many things and help your body relax. You will be surprised how different you will feel after even your first meditation session. Regular meditation can help you achieve a whole new level of relaxation and long-standing piece in your life.

Communication

You are fighting a serious disease, and you need others in your life – people you can talk to and share your feelings and possibly fears with. Keeping your emotions bottled up inside can cause stress to grow and accumulate over time, which is never a good idea. By letting things out, you will be able to feel heard and understood, and also to hear other people’s perspectives. You may be surprised how supportive people often are, even when they aren’t your close family or friends. Try joining a support group, an online community or an actual real life group of people with similar issues as yours. Also, don’t forget about your connections with other people – maybe someone you work with, or have a common hobby with. Your disease doesn’t have to take over your whole world, in fact, the more you distract yourself and find pleasure in every day life no matter what, the less stress you will experience and the more chances you will have to successfully control your condition. Remember, no matter what, your life is in your hands and under your control, and you can always make it better!

Professional help

If you find that you cannot manage stress on your own and have a hard time maintaining good mental state, you might need help. Never feel bad about consulting with your doctor, or therapist, or even a psychologist. This is nothing to be ashamed of or feel bad about. A qualified person will have tools and ways to help you beyond anything you can even imagine and there is no reason not to use help when you need it. You are already dealing with a tricky health condition and there is no need to add stress and mental hardship to it, and especially to go it all alone. Remember that you are not alone, and that there is always help if you need it.

Happy healing!