November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, which is an opportune time for us to highlight some basic facts about this condition and to explain how physical therapy as a supplementary treatment can help patients manage it. If you or someone you know is looking to introduce a higher level of activity while living with diabetes, physical therapy can support that transition.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce (type 1 diabetes), or properly use (type 2 diabetes) insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose or sugar to enter cells and provide the necessary energy for daily activities. However, if the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or if the body doesn’t adequately respond to insulin, the result is a build-up of excessive amounts of glucose in a person’s blood. The result can create a toxic situation for cells throughout the body and can lead to other health conditions in the body. It can also contribute to physical problems such as weakness, reduced endurance, obesity, and balance issues all resulting from a sedentary lifestyle.
Managing Diabetes with Physical Therapy
Treatment for diabetes varies on a patient-by-patient basis. Because diabetes affects the body in many ways, it’s important that diabetic patients coordinate with their physicians. Treatment generally involves regularly monitoring blood-sugar levels and taking medication. Additionally, as a supplement to other care, physical therapy is often recommended and can lead to improved management of many of the problems associated with the condition.
Physical therapy offers many great benefits for the diabetic patient. A therapist can help people with diabetes get their lives back. During treatment, patients learn how to participate in safe, effective exercise programs designed to improve their ability to move, perform daily activities, reduce pain, and hopefully lower blood glucose levels. Additionally, physical therapists are uniquely qualified to identify how items like footwear may impact a diabetic patient’s comfort and overall safety when engaging in basic activities such as walking.
CDC – Managing Diabetes
APTA – Physical Therapy Guide to Diabetes
Reclaim Your Life
Don’t let a diabetes diagnosis stop you from living a healthy, active lifestyle. Contact us today to start your journey with a customized program to address your unique needs.