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New exercise guidelines for type 1 diabetes patients

Major obstacles in blood sugar management for people with type 1 diabetes include hypoglycaemia, loss of glycaemic control, and insufficient knowledge regarding exercise management. Diabetes care is complex and requires that many issues, beyond glycemic control, be addressed. A large body of evidence exists that supports a range of interventions to improve diabetes outcomes. [1]

Need for physical activity in type 1 diabetes

As may be expected with a chronic disease that primarily affects middle-aged and older individuals, type 2 diabetes is usually complicated by other medical conditions. In the 1999-2004 cohort of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), only 14% of patients with type 2 diabetes had no other comorbidities. [2]

In type 1 diabetes, it is important to maintain a balance between your insulin doses, the food you eat, and the activity you do including your housework.

Alterations in blood glucose levels to exercise will be heavily influenced by:

Exercise guidelines for patients with type 1 diabetes

A recent set of guidelines [4] have been published by a team of 21 researchers to educate and help people perform type 1 diabetes exercise safely without constant fluctuations in blood sugar. New guidelines regarding glucose targets, nutritional and insulin adjustments to prevent exercise related changes in blood sugar have been mentioned.

New guidelines in this report state the following:


These guidelines will help patients with type 1 diabetes overcome certain challenges regarding glucose control and exercise. It will help them achieve the several health benefits that come with regular exercising. However, regular glucose monitoring before and after exercise is important [5]. Management of glucose levels needs a complete understanding of the physiology of the different types of exercise and their effects on the blood glucose levels.

Credit: Dr. Rachita on behalf of Borderless Access

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  1. American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2009. Diabetes Care2009;32:S13-61
  2. Suh DC, Choi IS, Plauschinat C, Kwon J, Baron M. Impact of comorbid conditions and race/ethnicity on glycemic control among the US population with type 2 diabetes, 1988-1994 to 1999-2004.
  3. American Diabetes Association
  4. Michael C Riddell, Ian W Gallen, et al. Exercise management in type 1 diabetes: a consensus statement. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2017
  5. Centers for Disease Control. The power of prevention
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