A new study from the University of Sydney has found that regular aerobic exercise can improve artery health in people with Type 2 diabetes. The findings from this study have been published in Current Diabetes Reviews, and shed new light on exercise as a therapy in this population.
Compromised arterial health is an underlying mechanism that promotes the progression of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Effectively managing CVD risk in this population is a major challenge for health professionals.
Exercise is one of the first lines of treatment recommended by health professionals to manage the array of complications associated with the chronic condition — such as controlling blood sugar. While it has been consistently shown that exercise is exceptionally beneficial for managing CVD, blood pressure medication is the main treatment used to manage arterial health problems.
This new study combined the results of nine randomized controlled clinical trials investigating the effects of exercise on Type 2 diabetes. "We focused on measures looking at arterial stiffness, vascular reactivity and smooth muscle function, because there is evidence that suggests they are closely associated with disease progression and CVD mortality," said Kimberley Way, who lead the research.
Analysis found that aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, appears to have a significantly beneficial effect on the stiffness and the function of the smooth muscles in the arteries. "This makes our findings very valuable to health professionals, because aerobic exercise can be used as a primary treatment strategy for arterial health, while also assisting with other health complications associated with Type 2 diabetes," Way added.