Physical fitness may improve survival among diabetes patients with heart dysfunction

June 25, 2012

Being physically fit may improve survival rates among diabetes patients with a particular type of heart abnormality, a new study determines. The results will be presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.

In the United States, nearly 26 million people have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of diabetes, and more people are developing the disease as the continues. Treatment includes making lifestyle changes and taking medication to control blood sugar.

Left , or LVH, is an abnormality characterized by a thickening of the muscular walls of the heart's main pumping chamber, which can reduce its ability to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Causes of LVH include , and other heart and medical conditions. Medications are available to treat the disease.

While both diabetes and LVH can increase the risk of death, the effects of these diseases in relation to physical-fitness levels were unclear.

In this study, who were not physically fit and had LVH were the most likely to die, while physically fit patients, both with and without LVH, had a significantly lower risk of death. The differences remained even after investigators adjusted for potential influences, including , , smoking, and medications. In each group, the risk of death compared to patients with low physical-fitness levels and no LVH was:

  • 20 percent greater – low physical fitness with LVH
  • 41 percent lower – physically fit without LVH
  • 43 percent lower – physically fit with LVH

"Exercise fitness markedly improves survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and left ventricle ," said lead author Khaled A. Alswat, M.B.B.S., endocrinology fellow at Washington, D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center, George Washington University. "We also found that improvement in fitness improves survival significantly, regardless of the presence or absence of left wall thickness."

Beginning in 1986 and continuing until 2011, 866 male veterans with type 2 diabetes and an average age of 61 years enrolled in the study at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C

At the study's start, participants underwent a standard exercise assessment with a treadmill to determine fitness level and were then classified as either low fit or physically fit. In addition, all patients received a special test, known as an echocardiogram, which can diagnose LVH with sound waves that generate an image of the heart muscle, including its contractions and relaxation. The follow-up was as long as 24 years, with a median of almost 9 years. During the course of the study, 346 deaths occurred, which is an annual rate of 4.3 percent, overall.

Explore further: Physical fitness trumps body weight in reducing death risks

Related Stories

Physical fitness trumps body weight in reducing death risks

December 5, 2011
even if your body weight has not changed or increased -- you can reduce your risk of death, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Physical fitness may reduce hypertension risk in people with family history

May 14, 2012
If your parents have a history of high blood pressure, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing the disease with moderate exercise and increased cardiovascular fitness, according to new research in the American ...

Is hypertension in your family?

May 31, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- If your parents have a history of high blood pressure, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing the disease through moderate exercise and increased cardiovascular fitness, according to new ...

Recommended for you

Scientists discover a new way to treat type 2 diabetes

July 21, 2017
Medication currently being used to treat obesity is also proving to have significant health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes. A new study published today in Molecular Metabolism explains how this therapeutic benefit ...

Alzheimer's drug cuts hallmark inflammation related to metabolic syndrome by 25 percent

July 20, 2017
An existing Alzheimer's medication slashes inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome, a potential therapeutic intervention for a highly dangerous condition affecting 30 percent of adults in the ...

Diabetes or its precursor affects 100 million Americans

July 19, 2017
Almost one-third of the US population—100 million people—either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report Tuesday.

One virus may protect against type 1 diabetes, others may increase risk

July 11, 2017
Doctors can't predict who will develop type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the cells needed to control blood-sugar levels, requiring daily insulin injections and continual monitoring.

Diabetes complications are a risk factor for repeat hospitalizations, study shows

July 7, 2017
For patients with diabetes, one reason for hospitalization and unplanned hospital readmission is severe dysglycemia (uncontrolled hyperglycemia - high blood sugar, or hypoglycemia - low blood sugar), says new research published ...

Researchers identify promising target to protect bone in patients with diabetes

July 7, 2017
Utilizing metabolomics research techniques, NYU Dentistry researchers investigated the underlying biochemical activity and signaling within the bone marrow of hyperglycemic mice with hopes of reducing fracture risks of diabetics

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.