October 7, 2011

Blood Glucose Levels for Safe Exercising

Because of all the blogs appearing about exercise, I felt it was time to discuss some problems people tend to ignore when they exercise. Yes, too many people ignore their blood glucose levels, especially the people with type 2 diabetes. Most people with type 2 diabetes don't even tell their doctors they are starting to exercise or even that they are exercising. Many are just plain lucky they have not developed hypoglycemia or had problems of having their blood glucose levels too high when they started their daily exercise.

Although most sources seldom discuss the problems involved, it is time to bring them to the front. Most people with type 1 diabetes know what happens if the blood glucose levels are too low or too high before they start their daily exercising. For some reason, many doctors just do not cover this with type 2 patients. Does this mean that we will not have problems. Just continue to push your luck and you may end up in the hospital.

In my research, it has been difficult to find conclusive answers for type 2 diabetes. Everyone agrees that a blood glucose level of 250 mg/dl (13.9 mmol/L) or higher means that you must not exercise until your levels have come down below this.

Read the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Care for guidelines and concerns before beginning a regimen of exercise. Type 2 diabetes people on insulin or sulfonylurea treatments need to be concerned at the same degree as people with type 1 diabetes. It is just that people with type 2 are less likely to have severe hypoglycemia. Exercise for people with type 2 generally improves insulin sensitivity and assists in bringing elevated blood glucose levels into the normal range.

I have said this before and it needs repeating – before beginning a regimen of exercise, please discuss this with your doctor. He may want to do some tests before allowing you to do any strenuous exercise regimens and may have other advice to assist in preventing problems. Many of these are also covered in the ADA Diabetes Care link above.

Generally the blood glucose guidelines for exercising for all types of diabetes are 100 to 250 mg/dl (5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L). For most people, this is a safe pre-exercise blood glucose range. If you are not on insulin or sulfonylurea treatments, then it is still necessary to discuss this with your doctor if you are about to start an exercise regimen after a long period of being sedentary. This applies to people controlling their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise as well to prevent possible cardiovascular problems.

There are those individuals with type 2 diabetes that do not follow the norm and their blood glucose increases with exercise. This should be discussed with the doctor and use the doctors guidance. Normally after a period of time, possibly a month or longer, depending on the type of exercise you should see your blood glucose levels dropping with exercise.

If you are a type 2 on insulin or sulfonylurea treatments, be sure to read this article from the Mayo Clinic as well. Another blog for your reading is this one.

Even this does not cover people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes that maintain near normal levels. My advice would be to talk this over with your doctor and once you have established a pattern of safe exercise at lower levels than recommended, keep a close watch on your blood glucose levels.

Enjoy exercising for good health!

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