Tips to be fit and healthy
Remember that a host of other problems often accompany diabetes. Be aware of them so you can modify your exercise program as needed. You should consult with your physician, but Dr. Elena Arizmendez gives these suggestions:
Coronary artery disease: Nearly everyone who has diabetes has some element of coronary disease. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise; it just means you need to take precautions. When starting a fitness program, don’t lift weights. Focus on the lower extremities, especially the legs. Don’t exercise in a reclined position, which can put added stress on your heart. Be sensible when it comes to heat and sun exposure. Try walking at an indoor shopping mall, or early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Peripheral vascular disease: If you have this narrowing of the large arteries in the legs and arms, it might be painful to walk. Exercise is still good for you, but don’t put a heating pad on sore muscles when you’re done. It can cause ischemia, or restricted blood supply. Tylenol is usually safe; don’t take ibuprofen (Advil) or Aleve, which can cause renal failure.
Diabetic retinopathy: The fragile blood vessels in the retina can bleed or detach if you have diabetic retinopathy. Avoid highimpact exercises that can put you at risk for vision loss.
Peripheral neuropathy: Patients whose nerves are affected by this disorder can’t always feel if their feet are traumatized. Wear good shoes and cotton socks when you exercise. Afterward, look at your feet. If you see red areas or broken skin, get fitted with orthotics and shoes that don’t rub. Otherwise you risk limb loss.
Autonomic dysregulation: People with this disorder, which affects the involuntary reflexive activities of the body, sometimes feel light-headed. The condition is worse after eating, when the body focuses on digestion. Don’t exercise immediately after meals.