Diabetes patients to benefit from exercise study

06 July 2016

Dr Parth Narendran

Dr Parth Narendran

Patients with type 1 diabetes are being recruited to a pioneering research study to help them safely increase their exercise levels.

The study, called EXTOD (Exercise in Type One Diabetes), will see patients working with clinicians to develop an education programme around managing glucose levels while safely increasing exercise levels.

Experts recommend that people with type 1 diabetes follow a healthy diet and take part in moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise at least two and a half hours a week. This strengthens their heart and lungs, as well as helping their body to use oxygen more effectively.

But several studies show that a high number of people with type 1 diabetes are not meeting the recommended level of exercise due to fears about hypoglycaemia and their lack of confidence in adjusting to the right levels of insulin and carbohydrate intake.

Research also suggests that people with type 1 diabetes are much more likely to take part in regular exercise if they are taught how to do so safely.

Diabetes Consultant Dr Parth Narendran, who is leading the study at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, said:” We know that the vast majority of people with type 1 diabetes want to lead healthy lifestyles to support their condition.

“However, there is no nationally validated education programme about exercise for patients with type 1 diabetes in England and they therefore find it difficult to access information and put it into practice.“In addition, doctors and nurses have also told us that they want to be better informed about the effect of exercise on diabetes so they can better advise their patients.”

The EXTOD study is divided into two phases and will run through The Diabetes Research Unit and The Institute of Translational Medicine at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. The first phase will involve focus groups of patients with type 1 diabetes and healthcare professionals sharing their knowledge and experience about lifestyle and exercise. This will be used as a guide for developing an education programme.

Specialists in the development of education programmes will then design a prototype exercise education programme that will include instructions on adjusting insulin dosages and carbohydrate intake for safe and effective exercise.

The second phase will take place once the prototype education programme is ready. It will be tested on groups of patients with type 1 diabetes who already exercise regularly.

Anyone with type 1 diabetes who would like to find out more about the study can contact research coordinator Gurvinder Gill via email: Gurvinder.Gill@uhb.nhs.uk