Often a diagnosis of diabetes can be a scary thought which can cause you to be constantly thinking about what am I eating, how much do I weigh, I need to exercise more, I can’t eat cake, I can’t eat fruit, I shouldn’t do this, or I shouldn’t do that. It can be a very confusing, anxious and stressful time, which doesn’t help you deal with the condition you have just been diagnosed with, so let’s break it down…
There are 3 main types of diabetes. The first one is Type 1 Diabetes, the second is Type 2 Diabetes, and the third is Gestational Diabetes. There is constantly more research being done into these conditions and more and more information is being released about them.
So, what is Type 1 Diabetes? Type 1 Diabetes is where the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed by the body’s immune system. This results in the body keeping glucose within the blood stream and preventing the ability for the glucose to be taken across into the muscles and the liver to be stored. That increase of sugar in the blood can damage organs such as your kidneys, heart, and eyes and that’s why people with Type 1 Diabetes need to have daily insulin injections to assist in controlling blood glucose levels.
Type 2 Diabetes is a more common form of diabetes affecting 85%-95% of all people living with diabetes. It normally affects the older population however with increasing levels of obesity and poor diet within our society, we’re starting to see more and more younger people being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, which is of concern. With Type 2 Diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, however it either isn’t producing enough insulin, or the cells do not respond as positively to the insulin being released by the body. Therefore, there is a reduction in the body’s ability to uptake the glucose from the blood to be used as energy or stored within the liver and muscles for future use. As a result, there is an increase in glucose within the blood. The great news with Type 2 Diabetes though, is that through exercise and nutrition our bodies can start to assist in the process of reducing the blood sugars within our blood. Exercise acts as a pump to take blood glucose into the muscles without the need for insulin, therefore movement is great to assist the body with reducing blood sugar levels. When you are starting an exercise program, it’s helpful to talk to an Exercise Physiologist to learn the types of exercise you can do to assist in reducing your blood sugar levels. Through the right exercise program from an Exercise Physiologist, you can have aerobic exercise and strength-based training incorporated into your lifestyle to assist in reducing your blood sugar levels, reducing your waist measurements, and also improving mood and energy levels.
The third type of diabetes is Gestational Diabetes. Gestational Diabetes tends to happen within the 3rd trimester of pregnancy for ladies who are going to develop it. The increase in blood sugar levels can be hormone-related and exercise can definitely assist in moderating the blood sugar levels throughout the gestational diabetes period. Some ladies may also require insulin or other mediations during their pregnancy to assist in regulating their blood sugar levels. This will be discussed with your obstetrician to put the best management plan into place. Again, seeing an Exercise Physiologist is a great way to ensure you’re doing the correct exercises during pregnancy and also to assist you with the management of your gestational diabetes.
If you need help with developing an exercise program to assist your Diabetes Coordinated Fitness’s Exercise Physiologists in Brisbane can assist you with an individualised plan.