Exercise improves heart function for type 2

Thursday, 2 April 2020

UK researchers have found that heart function can be significantly improved in people with type 2 diabetes through exercise. The study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) also showed that a low-energy diet did not alter heart function in the group.

Dr. Gaurav Gulsin, a lead author of the study, said: “Heart failure is one of the most common complications in people with type 2 diabetes.

Younger adults with type 2 diabetes already have changes in their heart structure and function that put them at risk of developing heart failure later in life.

About the research

Using the latest scanning techniques, we wanted to explore whether it is possible to reverse these changes in this group through exercise and/or weight loss.”

Eighty-seven patients between 18 and 65 years of age, with type 2 diabetes were broken into three 12 week programs – routine care, supervised aerobic exercise training, a low-energy meal

Thirty six healthy volunteers were enrolled as a control group.

The results

The study found that patients who followed the supervised exercise program had significantly improved heart function compared with the control group, and had also increased their exercise capacity.

While the low energy diet did not improve heart function, it did have favourable effects on the structure of the heart, vascular function and led to the reversal of diabetes in 83 per cent of those in this group.

Gerry McCann, a senior author on the study said, “This research shows that lifestyle changes like regular exercise training are important to limiting and even reversing the damage to heart structure and function seen in younger adults with type 2 diabetes.”

“It may seem obvious, but if we can empower people with type 2 diabetes to make changes to their daily routines through exercise and healthy eating, we may help them reduce the risk of heart failure and even early death.

Using imaging techniques such as MRI we can actually show them the benefits their changes are making to their hearts”, said Dr McCann.

The research team recognize the study population was relatively small. But believe the positive results add to our understanding of type 2 diabetes and the prevention of heart disease.

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