People living with type 1 diabetes are forever being told, by their healthcare team, that exercise will support their diabetes management. However, without preparation exercise can affect a person’s blood glucose levels and cause hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia. This is something that Jake O’brien, who was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago, knows all too well.
“I think one of the biggest challenges people living with diabetes face around exercise is having a hypoglycaemic or hyperglycaemic event. “Says Jake, a keen marathon runner, “For me this is often a concern and I have to carry some extra glucose with me when I go for a run to prevent this sort of thing from happening,” explains Jake. “When I ran my first marathon, I was so worried about having hypoglycaemia that I took too much glucose and ended up having hyperglycaemia for the majority of the run,” Jake continues,“ This was hard to manage and I felt really sick at the end of my run.”
On Wednesday 14 October, Curtin University and Diabetes WA researcher Marian Brennan launched research of a group education program that supports people living with diabetes to overcome the barriers for exercise and build confidence in managing their diabetes while exercising.
Guests also had the opportunity to hear from internationally renowned type 1 diabetes researchers, Dr Rob Andrews and Dr Parth Narendran, both co-founders of EXTOD, (EXercise for Type 1 Diabetes) program.
After the presentations, guests were able to ask three type one panellists, Jake, Tiahn and Peter, about their experiences with maintaining blood glucose levels during exercise. The three panellists have a range of physical activity experiences including marathon running, strength training, hiking, netball, sailing, cricket, hockey and physical work in mining. “
“It was fantastic to see so many people with type 1 diabetes connecting over physical activity. We hope we can keep this conversation going with our own type 1 physical activity program, Type 1 TACTICS for Exercise,” says Marian.
“The evening not only provided insights into managing physical activity while living with T1D but gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions to leading researchers and clinicians and to chat and share experiences with others living with T1D about T1D and exercise. “We are very fortunate to have ongoing support from our UK colleagues, Dr Andrews and Dr Narendran, particularly during such trying times in the UK”
“The program showed me a clear step by step approach and a framework for planning and managing of exercise when living with diabetes,” says Jake, who was a participant in the pilot program study.
Jake found extra value in the group experience of the program. “I think group education is a really useful tool, especially for people who are nervous about exercising with type 1 diabetes,” says Jake. “We can all put our heads together and share a lot of the knowledge that we’ve learnt from our own experiences.”
Diabetes WA would like to thank Medtronic, Roche and YPSOMED for their sponsorship of this event.
NB: Hypoglycaemia occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels drop low causing them to become seriously unwell, while hyperglycaemia occurs when a person’s blood glucose