Physical activity vital for patients with type 2 diabetes
A new European position paper recommends that patients with type 2 diabetes should be prescribed physical activity to control blood sugar and improve heart health. The position paper from the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC), a branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) provides practical recommendations for doctors on how to motivate patients to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, set achievable and measurable goals, and design individualised exercise training programmes to meet those goals.
Lead author Dr Hareld Kemps, a cardiologist at Máxima Medical Centre, Veldhoven, the Netherlands said, “Sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets are the most important drivers of the increasing number of patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks. Diabetes doubles the risk of mortality but the fitter patients become, the more that risk declines. Unfortunately, the majority of patients do not engage in exercise programmes.”
The paper recommends that healthcare professionals offer more than just advising patients to exercise. Patients should be assessed for comorbidities, risks related to exercise, and personal preferences. Patients should see their doctor for a personalised plan with early achievable goals that are measurable to improve long-term adherence. This could be anything from climbing stairs or walking to the shops through to time spent in the gym and must be personalised for each patient and include nutrition advice. Remote monitoring also looks promising, with patients using smartwatches to send data to a health professional for feedback.
Dr Kemps said: “I can’t stress enough how effective even small increases in activity can benefit patients with type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Interrupting sitting with brief bouts of walking improves glucose control, while two hours of brisk walking per week reduces the risk of further heart problems.”
Kemps H, Kränkel N, Dörr M, et al. Exercise training for patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: What to pursue and how to do it. A Position Paper of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC). Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2019. DOI: 10.1177/2047487318820420. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2047487318820420
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