Exercise, Medicine Prevent Diabetes

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 14, 2007 | Go to article overview

Exercise, Medicine Prevent Diabetes


Byline: Dr. Gabe Mirkin, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Several recent studies show that most cases of type II diabetes can be prevented with the diabetic medications like metformin, Avandia or perhaps Actos (Lancet, Sept. 29, 2006; Diabetes Care, Vol. 29, 2006). An earlier study showed that lifestyle changes were even more effective in preventing diabetes than drugs (Annals of Pharmacotherapy, July 2004).

People most likely to develop diabetes have a family history of diabetes, are overweight and store fat primarily in the belly, rather than the hips. They often have a thick neck, male pattern baldness, high blood levels of triglycerides and low levels of the good HDL cholesterol, and do not exercise.

If pre-diabetics take medication used to treat diabetes, or change their lifestyle, they can markedly reduce their chances of going on to develop diabetes. Both the prevention and treatment of diabetes involves preventing blood sugar levels from rising too high after meals. To do this, a person should avoid the foods that cause the highest rises in blood sugar levels, such as those made from flour, those with added sugar, and sugar water found in fruit juices and many soft drinks. Other recommendations are lose weight, exercise more and consume fewer calories. If you fit the description of a person at risk for diabetes, consult your doctor and get a blood test called HBA1C. If the value is greater than 5.6, you should start your diabetic prevention regimen immediately.

Will wearing support stockings improve blood flow during exercise?

Elastic compression stockings have no effect whatever on exercise, according to a recent study from France (European Journal of Applied Physiology, July 2006). They neither increase nor decrease endurance, strength, speed, recovery or blood flow to the limbs. The study did not test the increased warmth generated by compressive stockings, but many people with arthritis have difficulty exercising in the cold and feel better from the warmth generated by a snug wrapping. In hot weather, the support hose can act as a barrier to prevent heat loss, which may make you tire earlier. …

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