Exercise is very important for people with diabetes to stay healthy, but there are a few things to watch out for.
You should avoid some kinds of physical activity if you have certain diabetes complications. Exercise involving heavy weights may be bad for people with blood pressure, blood vessel, or eye problems. Diabetes-related nerve damage can make it hard to tell if you’ve injured your feet during exercise, which can lead to more serious problems. If you do have diabetes complications, your health care provider can tell you which kinds of physical activity would be best for you. Fortunately, there are many different ways to get exercise.
Physical activity can lower your blood glucose too much, causing hypoglycemia, especially in people who take insulin or certain oral medications. Hypoglycemia can happen at the time you’re exercising, just afterward, or even up to a day later. You can get shaky, weak, confused, irritable, anxious, hungry, tired, or sweaty. You can get a headache, or even lose consciousness.
To help prevent hypoglycemia during physical activity, check your blood glucose before you exercise. If it's below 100, have a small snack. In addition, bring food or glucose tablets with you when you exercise just in case. It is not good for people with diabetes to skip meals at all, but especially not prior to exercise. After you exercise, check to see how it has affected your blood glucose level. If you take insulin, ask your health care provider if there is a preferable time of day for you to exercise, or whether you should change your dosage before physical activity, before beginning an exercise regimen.
On the other hand, you should not exercise when your blood glucose is very high because your level could go even higher. Do not exercise if your blood glucose is above 300, or your fasting blood glucose is above 250 and you have ketones in your urine.
When you exercise, wear cotton socks and athletic shoes that fit well and are comfortable. After you exercise, check your feet for sores, blisters, irritation, cuts, or other injuries.
Drink plenty of fluids during physical activity, since your blood glucose can be affected by dehydration.
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