Exercise may lower risk of death for men with type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea

Many doctors recommend that their patients who have type 2 diabetes consume a diabetic diet and engage in as much physical activity as possible so that they can control their blood sugar levels.

Exercise may also promote weight loss in individuals with type 2 diabetes, which may help reverse the symptoms of the disease altogether, some research suggests.

Recently, a study presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society showed that men who have type 2 diabetes and also experience sleep apnea may be able to lower their risk of death by engaging in regular physical activity, according to an article published by HealthDay News.

The researchers explained that the latter condition is common among people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, and that cases of patients with these coexisting health problems are increasing.

"Recent findings suggest that patients with sleep apnea have an increased risk of dying of any cause, compared with individuals without sleep apnea," said Skikha Khosla, MD, one of the study's lead authors, quoted by the news provider.

The research involved 567 male veterans with an average age of 62 who completed a preliminary fitness exam to determine their exercise capacity. Scores were based on the number of peak metabolic equivalents (METs) each subject achieved during a stress test, which measured how well his heart handles exertion. Participants who earned 5 or fewer METs were considered to be low fitness, while high fitness individuals included those with at least 10 METs.

The study's results showed that the risk of death among the men was decreased by 13 percent for every 1-MET increase in fitness level. Furthermore, the findings indicated that men who were categorized as low-fitness had a 75 percent higher risk of death than those who were in the best physical shape, the news source reported.

Khosla suggested that individuals who have sleep apnea partake in 150 to 200 minutes of exercise each week. This is similar to the American Diabetes Association's guidelines for type 2 diabetes patients.

However, people with type 2 diabetes should discuss their exercise regimen with their physicians, since physical activity may cause unsafe changes in blood glucose levels if they are not monitored or balanced with insulin.