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The effect of exercise on vascular function and stiffness in type 2 diabetes

Public Release: 11-NOV-2016

This research article by Dr. Kimberley Larisa Way has been published in Currrent Diabetes Review, Volume 12, issue 4, 2016

A new study from the University of Sydney has found that regular aerobic exercise can improve artery health in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). The findings from this study have been published in Current Diabetes Reviews, and shed new light on exercise as a therapy in this population.

Compromised arterial health is an underlying mechanism that promotes the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death in individuals with T2D. Effectively managing CVD risk in this population is a major challenge for health professionals.

Exercise is one of the first lines of treatment recommended by health professionals to manage the array of complications associated with T2D, such as controlling blood sugar. While it has been consistently shown that exercise is exceptionally beneficial for managing CVD, blood pressure medication is the main treatment used to manage arterial health problems.

This new study combined the results of nine randomised controlled clinical trials investigating the effects of exercise in T2D. Kimberley Way, who leads the research, says: “We focussed on measures looking at arterial stiffness, vascular reactivity and smooth muscle function, because there is evidence that suggests they are closely associated with disease progression and CVD mortality.”

Ms Way statesadds: “What we found from our analysis, is that aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling appears to have a significantly beneficial effect on the stiffness and the function of the smooth muscles in the arteries. This makes our findings very valuable to health professionals, because aerobic exercise can be used as a primary treatment strategy for arterial health, while also assisting with other health complications associated with T2D. “

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Way, K.L.; Keating, S.E.; Baker, M.K.; Chuter, V.H.; Johnson, N.A. The Effect of Exercise on Vascular Function and Stiffness In Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Curr. Diabetes Rev., 2016, 12(4), 369-383.