Diabetes, insulin and exercise

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewForskningfagfællebedømt

The metabolic and hormonal adaptations to single exercise sessions and to exercise training in normal man and in patients with insulin-dependent as well as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus are reviewed. In insulin-dependent (type I) diabetes good metabolic control is best obtained by a regular pattern of life which will lead to a fairly constant demand for insulin from day to day. Exercise is by nature a perturbation that makes treatment of diabetes difficult: Muscle contractions per se tend to decrease the plasma glucose concentration whereas the exercise-induced response of the so-called counter-regulatory hormones tend to increase plasma glucose by increasing hepatic glucose production and adipose tissue lipolysis. If the pre-exercise plasma insulin level is high, hypoglycaemia may develop during exercise whereas hyperglycaemia and ketosis may develop if pre-exercise plasma insulin levels are low. Physical activity is often difficult to carry out on a precise schedule and the exercise-induced changes in demand for insulin and calories vary according to the intensity and duration of exercise, time of day, and differ within and between individuals. Thus, physical training can not be recommended as a means of improving metabolic control in insulin-dependent diabetes. However, our present knowledge and technology allows the well-informed and cooperative patient to exercise and even to reach the elite level. To achieve this, pre-exercise metabolic control should be optimal and knowledge of the patient's reaction to exercise is desirable, which necessitates frequent self-monitoring of plasma glucose. It may often be necessary to diminish the insulin dose before exercise, and/or to ingest additional carbohydrate during or after exercise. In non-insulin-dependent (type II) diabetes, exercise is associated with less risk of metabolic derangement, and in genetically disposed individuals physical training may prevent development of overt diabetes possibly by diminishing the strain on the pancreatic beta cell. The latter, however, is only achieved if exercise is not accompanied by increased caloric intake. Whether physical training in diabetes can reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is at present unknown, but training has in diabetic patients been shown to lessen some risk factors for development of arteriosclerosis. However, training of diabetics (especially in the less well-regulated patient) may not lessen coronary risk factors to the same extent as in healthy subjects.

TidsskriftSports Medicine
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)275-288
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 1986

ID: 154758257