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Diabetes & Exercise

Doctors often encourage people with type 2 diabetes to exercise because it can help them lower their blood sugar. However, a recent study has shown that about 20 percent of people with diabetes may have certain genes that prevent them from lowering their blood sugar with exercise. Dr.Maria Pena works for the Center For Weight Management in Syoset, New York. She says that healthcare professionals have been under the impression that exercise helps increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes for many years.

However, Dr. Pena has noticed that patients can get different results with the same amount of exercise. For example, some patients are able to lose weight and lower their hemoglobin A1C by just walking 30 minutes every other day. However, other patients exercise twice as much and are unable to get the same results.

The new study was led by Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute In Orlando and Laurie Marie Sparks of Florida Hospital. The study examined the effects that exercise had on people who suffered from type 2 diabetes. They also conducted research on animals and examined genetic components.

The researchers found that 15 to 20 percent of people with type 2 diabetes did not have an improvement in body fat percentage, blood sugar or insulin sensitivity with exercise. The genetic and animal studies showed that this resistance to exercise is genetic.

However, Sparks has stated that lack of physical activity and obesity are still the two of the biggest factors that determine a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That is why physicians often recommend exercise and other lifestyle interventions to help people manage or prevent the disease. Sparks also stated that most people will benefit from exercise, but some people will not have the same improvements because of genetics.

According to the Center for Disease Control And Prevention, four out of 10 people will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. Sparks stated that more research needs to be done in order to examine which patients who are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes will benefit from an exercise program. This will allow healthcare providers to determine the appropriate interventions for people who do not respond to exercise.

Ronald Tamler is the clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center in New York City. He stated that people with type 2 diabetes should still continue to exercise. He says that he has seen type 2 diabetics benefit greatly when they perform the right type of exercise at the right intensity.