Exercise regimes should be individualised for diabetes patients and their specific complications, according to new research.
Dr Geraldine Q. Young from Alcorn State University, Natchez, Mississippi revealed positive findings from people with diabetes who had undergone individual regimes for retinopathy (eye disease), nephropathy (kidney disease) and neuropathy (nerve damage).
She told Healio Family Medicine: “This protocol is designed to help patients with diabetes [engage in] exercise regardless of what comorbidities they may have.”
Young’s study involved 30 people with type 2 diabetes whom had an average age of 57.5 years. All participants filled in questionnaires assessing for exercise barriers, while HbA1c, BMI and waist circumference were all measured before the study.
The participants then received different exercise regimens for two months depending on their comorbidities.
Those with retinopathy did more walking and swimming and avoided physical sports. Participants with nephropathy also did more walking and swimming of moderate intensity, but for shorter periods. Those with neuropathy did more swimming and riding a stationary bike and avoided brisk walking. Participants with diabetes and no complications did more brisk walking, tennis and cycling.
Twenty-four participants returned for an eight-week follow-up examination and 54 per cent had lower HbA1c levels, while 50 per cent decreased their BMI and waist circumference.
She added: “The proof is in the pudding with the results. The benefits of exercise, based on the proportion that answered, increased, and the barriers to exercise decreased, based on the prescription that caters to the patient.”
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

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