The 14th of November is World Diabetes Day. This is an opportunity to bring awareness to the prevalence of diabetes all over the world, and educate people on what it means to have diabetes and how it can be managed. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2022 is ‘Education to protect tomorrow’ and is aiming at more education for both treating health care professionals and for those living with diabetes, as well as education for the general public to slow the rise of diabetes prevalence.
- In 2021, 1 in 10 adults were living with diabetes
- 541 million adults are at risk of developing type II diabetes
- 1.2 million children and adolescents are currently living with type I diabetes
- 1 in 6 births are affected by gestational diabetes 
While many people with diabetes have a team of health professionals looking after them, they themselves are responsible for their own day-to-day management. This is why it is so important for them to have access to the education and tools they need to properly manage their condition. This year, the International Diabetes Federation has launched the Understanding Diabetes platform – a free platform offering interactive education for people living with diabetes and their carers. It includes short courses on what diabetes is and how to control blood glucose levels. To access the platform, visit understandingdiabetes.org. There is also a similar platform available for health professionals to keep up to date with diabetes information.
How can we help?
Exercise physiologists are just some of the health professionals that should be on your care team. Whether you have type I, type II or gestational diabetes, we are here to help you manage your health and understand how to safely participate in exercise.
I often meet individuals in the clinic who have been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, but actually have very little understanding on exactly what this means – and why exercise is beneficial. So let’s break it down:
- Diabetes is a broad term that covers conditions in which there are high levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is important to have as our bodies use it as an energy source, but when there is too much or too little in the bloodstream for too long, it can lead to complications.
- Exercise plays an important role in both the prevention and the management of diabetes. It lowers blood sugar through two main mechanisms: increasing insulin sensitivity (ie. making the insulin you do have more effective) and increasing muscle contractions which leads to increased glucose uptake from the bloodstream .
- Regular exercise helps in reducing the risk of further diabetes complications, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease or nerve damage, as well as improved emotional wellbeing.
Exercise will affect each individual’s blood glucose levels differently, and this is why it is important to work with an exercise physiologist to help you understand how your levels may be affected both during and after participating in exercise. By having a better understanding of your body’s response to exercise, you can better manage your blood sugars, and avoid levels that are too high or too low.
If you have diabetes, you may be eligible for a referral from your GP to join our group exercises classes. Check out the group classes tab to find the right class for you!
: IDF Diabetes Atlas 2021
: American Diabetes Association Blood Sugar and Exercise