Regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, can improve artery health in people with Type-2 diabetes, says a study. Compromised arterial health is an underlying mechanism that promotes the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death in individuals with Type-2 diabetes. Effectively managing cardiovascular disease risk in this population is a major challenge for health professionals. “What we found from our analysis, is 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,” said lead researcher Kimberley Larisa Way from University of Sydney in Australia.
“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 T2D (Type-2 diabetes),” Way noted. Exercise is one of the first lines of treatment recommended by health professionals to manage the array of complications associated with diabetes, such as controlling blood sugar. While it has been consistently shown that exercise is exceptionally beneficial for managing cardiovascular disease, blood pressure medication is the main treatment used to manage arterial health problems.
This new study combined the results of nine randomised controlled clinical trials investigating the effects of exercise in Type-2 diabetes. “We focussed 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,” Way said. The findings, published in the journal Current Diabetes Reviews, shed new light on exercise as a therapy in this population.