Increasing muscle mass may be beneficial for individuals with pre-diabetes

Many physicians stress the importance of a diabetic diet and exercise regimen for individuals who have pre-diabetes since following this type of plan may help delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

While maintaining high levels of physical activity has been known to aid in weight loss for obese individuals who want to shed pounds in order to improve their blood sugar levels, including weight training in this regimen may also be beneficial.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism indicated that increasing muscle mass may help people with pre-diabetes reduce their levels of insulin resistance and, in turn, lower their odds or progressing to type 2 diabetes.

The research involved more than 13,000 participants who were over the age of 20 and not pregnant. Investigators collected information from the subjects regarding their skeletal muscle mass, insulin resistance and metabolic disorders involving problems with blood glucose.

The study's results showed that individuals with a higher proportion of muscle mass to their overall body size were less likely to have insulin sensitivity, and a reduced risk of developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

"This research suggests a role for maintaining fitness and building muscle. This is a welcome message for many overweight patients who experience difficulty in achieving weight loss, as any effort to get moving and keep fit should be seen as laudable and contributing to metabolic change," said lead study author Preethi Srikanthan.

Researchers noted that these findings should encourage physicians to monitor their patients' muscle mass in addition to their waist circumference.

The American Diabetes Association states that individuals with unbalanced blood sugar levels should talk to their healthcare providers before beginning a new exercise regimen. Also, people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes who have diabetic retinopathy should avoid strenuous weight lifting, since this may put pressure on the already compromised blood vessels in the eye and cause them to burst, the organization notes.