Fear of hypoglycemia a barrier to exercise for type 1 diabetics

Nov 26, 2008

According to a new study, published in the November issue of Diabetes Care, a majority of diabetics avoid physical activity because they worry about exercise-induced hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and severe consequences including loss of consciousness. Despite the well-known benefits of exercise, this new study builds on previous investigations that found more than 60 percent of adult diabetics aren’t physically active.

“Our findings confirmed our clinical suspicion,” say Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret, co-author of the study, a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Medicine and an endocrinologist at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM).

“Exercise has been proven to improve health and one would assume diabetics would remain active. Yet our findings indicate that type 1 diabetics, much like the general public, are not completely comfortable with exercise.”

Lack of understanding of insulin metabolism

One hundred adults, 50 women and 50 men, with type 1 diabetes answered questionnaires to assess their barriers to physical activity. The biggest fear was hypoglycaemia and other barriers included interference with work schedule, loss of control over diabetes and low levels of fitness.

When questioned further, only 52 of the participants demonstrated appropriate knowledge of how insulin is metabolized and processed. Those individuals who best understood how insulin works in their body were shown to be less fearful of physical activity. Such knowledge is essential in order to adapt insulin and/or food intake to prevent hypoglycaemia induced by exercise.

“Our study was launched to find ways to make diabetics healthier and suggests there is a major gap in information and support required by these patients,” says Anne-Sophie Brazeau, lead author and doctoral student at the Université de Montréal. “Programs aimed an increasing physical activity among type 1 adult diabetics need to incorporate specific actions to prevent hypoglycemia.”

“We also found that individuals with the greatest fear of physical activity had the poorest control of their diabetes,” says Dr. Hortensia Mircescu, co-author of the study, a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Medicine and a CHUM endocrinologist. “Education is particularly relevant for this group.”

The article "Barriers to Physical Activity Among Patients With Type 1 Diabetes" published in Diabetes Care, was authored by Anne-Sophie Brazeu, Remi Rabasa-Lhoret, Irene Strychar, Hortensia Mircescu, of the Université de Montréal and the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal.

Provided by Université de Montréal

Explore further: Immigrant children given adult dose of hepatitis A vaccine

Related Stories

Health checks will be seated by Sharp

Dec 08, 2014

(Phys.org) —Sharp unveiled a news-making prototype of a sensor earlier this month at Semicon Japan 2014, which took place from Dec 3 to 5. As its title suggests, Sharp's "Blood Vessel Aging Degree Sensor" ...

Argonne research expanding from injectors to inhalers

Mar 04, 2015

There is a world of difference between tailpipes and windpipes, but researchers at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have managed to link the two with groundbreaking research that could ...

Exercising pets helps avoid fat cat and pudgy pooch

Jan 06, 2015

This time of year, busy schedules and frequently frigid weather make it harder to stick with healthy habits, such as taking the dog for a walk. Yet finding ways to exercise your dog and cat during the winter can benefit the ...

Recommended for you

Immigrant children given adult dose of hepatitis A vaccine

Jul 04, 2015

About 250 immigrant children were given an adult dose of a hepatitis A vaccine at a Texas detention facility where they were being held with their mothers, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.