Type 1 Diabetes & Exercise: What are it’s Precautions and Benefits?

Diabetes is known to affect a large population of the individual across the globe. Dealing with diabetes pose serious complications because along with diabetes, a patient often suffers from various problems and diseases such as diabetic eye, kidney failure, skin disorder, cardiovascular diseases, and much more.

We know that type 1 diabetes is amongst the most common types of diabetes. Most of the patients contract this disease at a very young age and have to live with it throughout their lives. Although there is no particular cure for the same, experts often recommend that with regular physical exercise and a proper diet, the adverse effects of the same can be contained. In this article, we concentrate on type 1 diabetes and the effects of exercise on the same.

Table of Contents

What is the Meaning of Type 1 Diabetes?

Let us first start by understanding the exact meaning of type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas, which is responsible for producing insulin produces very little or no insulin at all. And now why is insulin so important for us? Well, insulin is very important for our body because it is this hormone which enables the sugar or glucose to enter our cells. This, in turn, provides us energy and is very important for leading a normal day to day life.

type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes as this type of diabetes usually occurs during childhood.

What are the Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes has a lot of symptoms. In order to carefully analyze and understand the causes, effects, and treatment of the disease, we also need to understand the symptoms.

Type 1 Diabetes

Following are the related symptoms:

  • You suddenly realize that you are feeling extremely thirsty at regular intervals.
  • You will feel really hungry at frequent intervals because the body is unable to use all the calories that it otherwise should have.
  • There is a sudden and extreme loss of weight as all the sugar calories are thrown away from the body while you pass urine. Besides, even the body is unable to absorb all the calories that it can.
  • There is an extreme feeling of fatigue, laziness, and tiredness.
  • You realize that your vision is not appropriate. You suddenly begin to experience blurred vision. This happens because excess sugar builds up around the eye which changes the shape of the lens, thereby causing the vision to get blurred.
  • There is a need to go to the washroom very frequently, particularly at night. This happens as the kidneys are trying to get rid of the excess sugar by throwing away more and more water.
  • You will have violent and very frequent mood swings which you previously did not have.
  • If your child who never used to previously wet the bed, have suddenly started doing the same, he or she may suffer from type 1 diabetes.
  • Finally, another symptom of the type 1 diabetes is that you may suffer from an infection in the vagina if you are a female patient.

It is important to note here that the above symptoms caused by type1 diabetes are something that you can develop over a period of just a few days or weeks. Hence it becomes extremely imperative that when you develop one of the above symptoms, you rush to the doctor immediately to get your blood sugar checked.

Is There a Treatment Available?

Although there is no cure for type 1 diabetes, regular exercise and physical activity can go a long way in helping the patient to lead a normal and healthy life. In fact, studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who are involved in regular exercising have lower death rates as compared to those who do not exercise regularly.

The problem with type 1 diabetes is that the body is unable to produce the required insulin. As such, it is necessary to manage the level of insulin with the food a patient eats and also with the regular physical exercising.

How Can Exercise Help Type 1 Diabetes?

Let us now understand how exercise can help in limiting the adverse health effects of type 1 diabetes.

Following are some of the benefits:

  • If you have type 1 diabetes, exercise will help you in getting rid of all types of long- term issues such as various cardiovascular and kidney related diseases.
  • Exercising will help the patient to develop good cholesterol in the body. That will help in preventing blocked arteries which could be one of the most significant complications which come along with diabetes.
  • The problem of blood sugar is very pertinent in those suffering from the disease. If you are a patient and are into regular exercising, you can keep the blood sugar levels under control.
  • It is a well-known fact that type 1 diabetes is mainly caused as the body is unable to produce enough insulin. As such, the carbohydrates do not get utilized like they should be and they are in a normal patient. Exercise helps in preventing that too. Experts suggest that after exercising, the body does not need too much insulin to process the carbohydrates.
  • Besides, regular exercising will help prevent all types of eye related and kidney diseases too. Also, the desired level of body mass index is well maintained amongst patients suffering from type 1 diabetes.
  • When you have the disease, the doctors are always concerned as to whether you have the desired level of glycated hemoglobin. It is a well- known fact that regular exercising will help you achieve the same.

Exercise and Blood Glucose Level in a Type 1 Diabetes Patient

A type 1 diabetes patient tends to experience fluctuations in the level of blood glucose at the time of exercising or before and after exercising. Let us try to understand the relationship between the two:

  • Sometimes, when you suffer from type 1 diabetes, you do experience a fall in the level of glucose in your blood after the activity or at the time of exercising. Hence, it is important to keep on checking the blood glucose level.
  • Experts suggest that when before exercising, you are experiencing a low level of blood glucose, it is recommended to have a snack just before the physical activity begins.
  • On the other hand, if the level of blood glucose is on the higher side before the exercise begins, you need to check the blood for ketones. If you do have the presence of ketones, it is suggested not to go for a vigorous workout
  • If the body does not have ketones, you can go for a vigorous exercise regime, if your doctor so recommends.

Type 1 Diabetes Exercise Precautions

What are the Precautions That You Should Take While Exercising If you are a Type 1 Diabetes Patient?

If you are someone who is suffering from type 1 diabetes, exercise is highly recommended for you. However, you do need to take a few precautionary steps to ensure that the same does not have an adverse effect on your health.

Following are a few precautions and guidelines that should be followed:

  • An overall understanding of the type of exercise and its impact on the blood glucose levels:

In order to ensure that you are keeping your blood glucose levels under the recommended levels, you need to understand the type of exercise you are doing and what shall be the overall impact of the same.

For example, exercises such as running, jogging, power yoga, and others which increase your heart rate for a prolonged period of time, tend to lower the blood glucose and sugar level. On the other hand, there are other forms of exercise which will have a reverse effect on you. Hence, the blood sugar level needs to be kept in check as explained in the above section.

  • Use a few food varieties to deal with the blood sugar problem:

Just before a type 1 diabetes patient starts to exercise, he or she needs to check that the minimum number of calories which is needed, is taken in by the person. Hence, the patient should be aware of the food which he or she takes in. For example, milk and peanut butter sandwich should be avoided just before starting to exercise as that will end up giving you calories, which are way more than your body would actually need.

  • Exercising in the morning on an empty stomach is highly recommended:

In order to maintain the required levels of blood glucose in your body, experts highly recommend that you exercise first thing in the morning when the stomach is completely empty. This is the perfect time where you can keep the blood glucose level from dropping.

  • Keep eating well while you are exercising:

Most of us tend to only concentrate on exercising and will forget that eating also plays a very important role in maintaining the right amount of carbohydrates, glucose, fats, etc. in the body. Keeping all the variables in mind will help you in taking the medication as and when required too.

Exercising may not be the only way in which type 1 diabetes can be tackled but it does go a long way in reducing some of the complications that the disease brings along with it. Although type 1 cannot be cured completely, regular physical activity can help the patient lead a normal life to a great possible extent. For maximum benefits, this should be combined with a proper diet and prescribed medications.

However, in spite of the general benefits offered by regular exercising, it is always recommendable that you consult your doctor before getting into a routine activity. Your doctor will prescribe you the best way in which you can include exercising along with a few precautionary measures to get the best results!

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