Not everyone with type 2 diabetes will benefit from exercise, according to a fresh look at past research.
Exercise is widely recommended to help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes, but as many as one in five patients may not benefit, researchers suggest.
“But at this stage, we do not know who will and who will not respond to an exercise programme,” said review author Lauren M. Sparks of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in Orlando.
Sparks believes this phenomenon is rooted in genetics. She hopes more research programs committed to investigating the underlying mechanisms will identify the individuals before they begin an exercise programme.
“We can then ultimately develop novel strategies, while still using exercise, to help them in their quest to either prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes or to get their diabetes under control,” she said.
In type 2 diabetes, sometimes referred to as adult-onset diabetes, the body’s cells are resistant to insulin or the body doesn’t make enough of the hormone, so glucose remains in the bloodstream and can climb to dangerously high levels. Insulin gives glucose – or blood sugar – access to the body’s cells to be used as fuel.
Regular exercise plays a role in preventing the disease as well as in helping to manage it. Thus, regular exercise programs along with diet and medication are often part of a person’s treatment plan.
In their new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Sparks and her colleague Natalie A. Stephens reviewed both published and unpublished research in an attempt to understand why exercise fails to benefit some people with diabetes.