Can physical therapy help diabetes?


In the world that we live in, Type II diabetes has become widespread. It is usually associated with weight gain, which further complicates the condition due to insulin imbalances, making it extremely difficult for a diabetic to lose weight.

At the same time, weight loss is an important component of diabetes management. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of excess body weight has radical long term consequences and significant health benefits. Weight loss has the potential to reduce the complications associated with diabetes and minimize the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In order to shed the excess body weight, a diabetic needs a progressive, structured combination of exercise and nutrition. Supervision and accountability is a key component of lasting weight loss for diabetics. A physical therapist can play an important role in exercise program design. A well-designed exercise program from a physical therapist can help burn calories, improve circulation and help the body manage insulin more effectively.

Weight loss requires a strategic combination of cardiovascular exercise and muscle strengthening to burn excess calories and improve metabolism. This increases your body’s ability to utilize energy and balance blood sugar levels, which is a safe and effective way to manage diabetes.

Type II diabetes is associated with decreased insulin sensitivity, which makes it extremely important for a diabetic to include muscle strengthening as part of a supervised exercise program. Increased muscle tone is a direct benefit of muscle strengthening. Muscle is considered a ‘metabolically active’ tissue, which burns energy, helps stabilize the body’s response to sugar and allows the body to use insulin more effectively. With your therapist’s supervision, muscle strengthening can be a safe, fun way to manage diabetes and improve energy levels!

Depending on the severity of the insulin imbalance, a physician may recommend some medications, and it’s best to consult with your physician to determine if you need a prescription for diabetes medication or a visit to your physical therapist.

Exercise is the foundation for the safe, effective treatment of diabetes. Evaluation of a diabetic patient can determine if there is any muscle weakness, imbalance, impairment of sensations or aches and pains associated with excess body weight. This information can be used to design an exercise program that can restore muscle balance, aid in weight loss and facilitate return to normal, healthy function.

There is a lot that a physical therapist can do for you, and help is just a phone call away. Don’t let diabetes steal your energy or affect your lifestyle. We are standing by to assist you and help you fight diabetes the right way.

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