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: Peace Corps withdraws from W. Africa over Ebola fears

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New material puts a twist in light

Jul 18, 2014

Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have uncovered the secret to twisting light at will. It is the latest step in the development of photonics, the faster, more compact and less carbon-hungry ...

New discovery in living cell signaling

Jul 03, 2014

A breakthrough discovery into how living cells process and respond to chemical information could help advance the development of treatments for a large number of cancers and other cellular disorders that ...

Making smartphones smarter with see-through sensors

Jun 18, 2014

(Phys.org)—Your smartphone's display glass could soon be more than just a pretty face, thanks to new technology developed by researchers from Montreal and the New York-based company Corning Incorporated. ...

Recommended for you

Ebola discoverer says would sit next to victim on train

5 hours ago

The scientist who helped discover the Ebola virus said the outbreak in west Africa was unlikely to trigger a major epidemic outside the region, adding he would happily sit next to an infected person on a train.

Peace Corps withdraws from W. Africa over Ebola fears

6 hours ago

The US Peace Corps announced Wednesday it was pulling hundreds of volunteers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to growing concerns over the spread of the deadly Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa.

User comments : 0