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How Physical Therapy Helps Manage Diabetes

Did you know that more than 9% of people in the US have diabetes? Of those, most have type 2 diabetes, which is an illness that impairs your body’s ability to process insulin and manage your blood sugar. 

At Bodyworks Medical Center, we know just how much regular physical therapy can help improve your diabetes. We’re here to help you with all of your pain management and health care needs. That’s why we’ve compiled this helpful guide to how physical therapy can help manage your diabetes.

What type 2 diabetes is

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body can’t properly process insulin. Because insulin is a hormone that takes sugar from food and delivers it to your body’s cells, when you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels can rise and spike.

Type 2 diabetes is thought to be caused by genetic and lifestyle factors together. There are a couple of lifestyle factors that can put you at an increased risk of developing diabetes. Some contributing factors include carrying excess body fat, living a sedentary lifestyle, having high blood pressure or cholesterol, and being a more advanced age. 

It’s important to get diagnosed, because a lot of complications can arise. About 8 million people who have diabetes don’t even know it, so it’s possible for you to not even know that you have it. Some indicators of diabetes include:

Another common sign of insulin resistance is the presence of dark rashes around your neck or armpits. But most of the symptoms above are sometimes so mild that they aren’t noticeable. It is, therefore, important to get your blood sugar levels tested.

How physical therapy can manage type 2 diabetes 

We can custom-make a physical therapy program that works to effectively manage your diabetes. It is a proven fact that regular physical activity helps to maintain low blood sugar levels and improve insulin use. In fact, it’s quite common for patients with diabetes to receive physical therapy services, as 80% of patients who receive physical therapy services are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or do have a minimum of one risk factor for diabetes. 

Creating a physical therapy program for diabetes

The best exercise program for those with type 2 diabetes will include a combination of aerobic, resistance, and endurance training. It’s important to check your blood sugar before and after you exercise, every 30 minutes during, and four hours afterward to make sure that you’re maintaining proper blood sugar levels.

It’s recommended that patients perform an aerobic exercise program three to five days a week, for a combined total of 150 minutes per week. A resistance training program for all major muscle groups is recommended for two to three days per week. However, those with peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage commonly caused by diabetes, shouldn’t perform any weight-bearing activities.  

It’s important that you maintain your physical therapy appointments and follow our home exercise instructions. You shouldn’t skip regular physical activity for more than two days in a row as this can lead to glucose intolerance and insulin sensitivity.   

Because we are a medical practice, we can take care of any complications that arise more than a regular physical therapy office. To learn more about how we treat diabetes and our physical therapy services, call us, or make an appointment right on our website today. 

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