Next up in our series on physical therapy and non-communicable diseases we are going to discuss the research findings on the benefits of exercise and physical therapy on preventing and controlling diabetes.

But first, what is diabetes? “Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the amount of glucose in the blood is too high, causing tissue damage. It falls into two types. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce any insulin, and cannot be prevented. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body isn’t producing enough insulin, or becomes resistant to insulin, and this type of diabetes can be prevented. Most cases of type 2 diabetes are associated with being overweight.”

The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 180 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with diabetes and they estimate this number to double by 2030.

Prevention and Control

“Exercise is one of the key interventions that can help people control or reduce weight, and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical therapists are experts in prescribing this as part of a structured, safe and effective program. The expert advice provided by physical therapists can also help people who have health complications as a result of diabetes. For example, they can help those who have lost limbs through diabetes-related amputations recover their mobility and adapt their environment so that they have independence. Physical therapists help people achieve a return to work, education, community participation and fulfilled lives. Exercise has a role in preventing diabetes and controlling diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days, along with a healthy diet, can singificantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Both resistance exercise and aerobic exercise are effective at reducing glucose intolerance and reducing the risk of diabetes. High-intensity progressive resistance training, in combination with moderate weight loss, is effective in controlling blood glucose levels in older patients with type 2 diabetes.”

World Diabetes Day (November 14, 2018)

“World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated every year on November 14. The World Diabetes Day campaign is led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and its member associations. It engages millions of people worldwide in diabetes advocacy and awareness.”