Aerobic Exercise Program Returns Blood Flow Measures to Near Normal in Prediabetes Subjects

Posted by Toby Smithson. Posted in EveryDay Exercise

A study conducted by Dr.  Sabyasachi Sen (Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass.) and colleagues found that people with prediabetes had developed similar dysfunction of small blood vessels as people with “full blown” diabetes. However, a structured aerobic exercise program over a six week period improved “vascular reactivity” to near normal levels even without weight loss. Vascular reactivity is, in essence, the flexibility of an artery to expand as blood flows through.

The improvement seen in the participants with prediabetes was significantly greater than similar studies of people with diabetes, where vascular reactivity regained only about one half its normal state.

And, while the participants in this study did not show weight loss or improvements in blood pressure, there was a significant drop in cholesterol levels and inflammation markers, both risk factors for heart disease.

These results suggest not only that exercise is crucial in reducing diabetes-related risk for heart disease, but also that early intervention in the prediabetes state may be much more effective in preserving cardiovascular health.

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  1. This is good news. Tragically, the friend of a friend lost her partner recently; he had a heart attack during a bout of aerobic activity (a “century” bike ride). However, he had diagnosed diabetes – perhaps it was too little, too late. Still, it’s encouraging to read that heart disease markers can be improved with exercise. It should come as no surprise, but for some, I guess it is.

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