Repeated exposure may combat exercise heat stress in type 2 diabetes
medwireNews: A pilot study published in JAMA shows that although heat stress is a potential issue for men with type 2 diabetes who wish to exercise, they may be able to acclimatize through repeated brief exposures.
There were 17 study participants (all male, average age 59 years, BMI 27.6 kg/m2) with well-controlled type 2 diabetes, with an average duration of 10 years. Their average peak whole-body heat loss (WBHL) during 30-minute bouts of cycling in 40oC heat was 187 W/m2, which was significantly lower than the average 215 W/m2 observed in 17 men of similar age and BMI who did not have diabetes.
This was “due primarily to impaired sweat evaporation, which exacerbated thermal (body temperature) and cardiovascular (heart rate) strain,” explain Glen Kenny (University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) and study co-authors.
They highlight the potential health consequences, “especially because physical activity is recommended for diabetes management.”
The study participants then undertook 7 days of heat acclimation, involving 90 minutes of exercise in similar high-temperature conditions, during which WBHL significantly improved in both groups (eight and 10 participants in the diabetes and control groups, respectively, completed the acclimation).
However, WBHL improved significantly more in the diabetes group than in the control group, by 28 versus 11 W/m2.
The researchers say that a randomized trial is warranted to determine if heat acclimation “offsets diabetes-related thermoregulatory impairments and health complications” in a broader population of people with type 2 diabetes.
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