Posted by: Vicky John | 2013-02-15

Exercise aggravated diabetes

When I was initially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, i lost 20kg. Determined to keep it off, I walked 4kms EVERY day. The result was weight gain, changing to insulin dependence, and an assessment that Ineed to do some exercise. 10 years down the line with even more resolve, I walked 5km EVERY day. One day I did some sugar tests - on waking sugar between 5-7. Walk. Before breakfast sugar 12. Before lunch 17. Before dinner 19. before bed 20. Next morning back to 5-7. A1C out of control.
Since I changed to doing gardening for half an hour 3 times a week (probably more) A1c is 9, weight is down. My endocrinologist is at a loss to explain this. Maybe you can. Exercising caused deterioration of the diabetes - so please don''t prescribe it until it is determined that there is no damage.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Vicky
It is difficult to assess your glucose test results without additional information. It would be good to know if you obtained the same results repeatedly over a period of months? I presume you were taking diabetic medication and that neither the medication or dosage changed and that you also did not change your diet, or start or stop taking other medications or supplements, or gain weight, or experience menopause, and that your exposure to stress (change of job, partner, etc), remained static for a decade or longer? If every other factor in your life remained precisely the same over 10 years, then it is possible that exercise may in your case have exacerbated your condition. One thing that does play a role in exercise is that some individuals become stressed when they do exercise, and stress could increase glucose levels as part of the fight or flee reaction governed by adrenal hormones. Gardening is relaxing for some people and the reduction in stress may play a role in your case. However, physical exercise does help patients to lose weight which in itself will improve their blood glucose and insulin levels. I do hope you note that I advise patients with type 2 diabetes to first consult their doctors/physicians before embarking on an exercise programme and that in many cases gentle exercise which can act as a relaxing technique (e.g. yoga) and going for relaxed walks in the fresh air to promote circulation which is often poor in diabetic patients, can indeed be of benefit.
Best regards

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