Diabetes, or high blood sugar, is Singapore’s fastest-growing chronic condition. It occurs when the body is unable to use blood glucose effectively for energy, resulting in high levels of blood sugar. The hormone insulin is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy, but in diabetes, insulin production is either not sufficient or what is available does not work properly.
The disease can cause a number of long term complications, resulting in disability, reduced quality of life, and premature death. Exercise plays an important role in diabetes. Physiotherapists are experts in exercise prescription for people with chronic illnesses and are therefore able to provide advice on physical activity and promote self-management practices. Physiotherapists also assist with the management of complications associated with diabetes.
How Can Physiotherapy Help Manage Diabetes?
Physiotherapists are active in services that focus on advice regarding general healthy behaviors, work and lifestyle. They coach and encourage self-care in the management of diabetes symptoms. A regular physio check-up, similar to dental check-ups, as a wellness routine has the potential of improving the health outlook of someone with diabetes and becoming a standard part of prevention.
Exercise is Key to Diabetes Management
Physical activity is an important part of diabetes management. Exercise causes muscles to use sugar for energy. The body uses insulin more efficiently with the help of regular exercise. Choice and increased demands by consumers leads to significant growth in the area of physiotherapy for the treatment of diabetes.
There are few exceptions to the rule that increased activity levels promote weight loss. Lack of exercise and being overweight are the most significant environmental factors related to Type 2 diabetes. Increasing exercise and losing weight are beneficial in glycemic control in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise significantly improves glycemic control and contributes to weight reduction. The exercise regimen needs to be part of one’s lifestyle. Regaining weight limits the effectiveness of managing glycemia.
Those seeking the help of a physiotherapist in the management of their diabetes with be prescribed an exercise regimen that consists of muscle-strengthening and aerobic exercise. An experienced physiotherapist will help diabetes management by deploying a variety of methods including exercise, manual therapy (to reduce muscle and joint pain), foot care, promoting general health and education of diabetes prevention. In addition, ongoing studies shows combining medication and lifestyle intervention. So far, there is no indication that the combination has more benefits than lifestyle intervention alone.