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Low Blood Sugar May Be More Likely With Jogging


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Low blood sugar may be more likely with jogging

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For active diabetics, moderate-intensity exercise, such as light continuous jogging or cycling, poses a greater risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) than intermittent high-intensity exercise representative of the activity patterns of team and field sports, such as soccer or hockey, research shows.

"Our finding has implications for safe participation in exercise by individuals with type 1 diabetes," Dr. Kym J. Guelfi, who led the study, told Reuters Health.

The observation is important, Guelfi and colleagues from the University of Western Australia note the journal Diabetes Care, "since many individuals with type 1 diabetes are discouraged from engaging in vigorous exercise because of a fear of exercise-induced hypoglycemia."

The researchers analyzed the response of blood sugar and hormones involved in the regulation of blood sugar on two separate occasions during which seven healthy young type 1 diabetics performed a moderate-intensity or intermittent high-intensity exercise program for 30 minutes.

Moderate-intensity exercise consisted of continuous exercise while high-intensity exercise entailed a combination of continuous exercise interspersed with sprints performed every 2 minutes to simulate the activity patterns of team sports.

The experiment was designed to reproduce a "real-life" situation in which insulin is injected and food is consumed as it normally would be before exercise, the team explains.

They found that both moderate-intensity and high-intensity exercise led to a decline in blood sugar levels, but the decline was greater with moderate-intensity than with high-intensity exercise, despite a higher heart rate and greater total work load with high-intensity exercise.

During the 60-minute recovery period after exercise, sugar levels remained higher after high-intensity exercise compared with after moderate-intensity exercise. Blood sugar levels remained stable during recovery from high-intensity exercise whereas they continued to decline after moderate-intensity exercise.

"Hopefully," Guelfi said, "this study will contribute to improved guidelines for individuals with type 1 diabetes to manage their (sugar) levels during and after exercise to avoid hypoglycemia. However, caution should be taken in generalizing these findings until further research has been conducted."

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, June 2005.

©2005 Reuters Health.

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