While exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body, if you are diabetic, you must consult your physician before you begin. As there are many exercise risks for diabetics, you must be thoroughly educated on how exercise can effect your body and your health.
One of the main risks associated with exercise and diabetics is hypoglycemia. This occurs when your blood sugar gets too low. It can be caused by drinking alcohol, taking too much insulin, or exercising. Signs of hypoglycemia can include profuse sweating, headache, trembling, and confusion. If the blood sugar gets too low, you may go into an unconscious state or what is called insulin shock. Unfortunately, hypoglycemia from exercise can be delayed up to thirty-hours. After exercise, a diabetic should be monitoring their blood sugar levels more frequently to prevent such a problem.
Another exercise risk for diabetics is hyperglycemia, the opposite end of the scale of hypoglycemia. With hyperglycemia, there can be too much sugar in the blood. The most common reason for this is allowing yourself to become dehydrated. When exercising, a diabetic must be able to increase their water intake to prevent this from happening. With hyperglycemia, a diabetic can have symptoms of unquenchable thirst, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. As hyperglycemia can lead to damage to the body’s organs, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar at all times when exercising.
Neuropathy or skin ulcers are also a risk for diabetics who exercise. Skin ulcers are sores that occur at pressure points and they happen most frequently on the feet of those with diabetes. Neuropathy is actually the bodies way of not breaking down chemicals correctly and causing problems with the nerve endings. Those experiencing neuropathy may feel numbness or tingling in their extremities, shooting pain, or even clumsiness. For those diabetics who exercise, regular monitoring of reflexes, strength, and coordination is recommended.
If you have been diagnosed as a diabetic, education of the disease is one of the most significant things you can receive. Knowing how often to check your blood sugar and what to do when signs of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia are apparent is key in keeping yourself healthy. While there are many exercise risks for diabetics, it does not mean you should not exercise. In order to keep yourself safe, consult your physician with your exercise plans and they will assist you in determining the best exercise regimen for you.