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Bobby Brown
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Bobby Brown   My Press Releases

Living Longer With Diabetes

Published on 8/10/2018
For additional information  Click Here

If you're diabetic, a new study finds that you'll probably live longer simply by strolling.

An analysis of 2,900 adults who had diabetes for an average of 11 years found that even two hours of walking weekly reduced the risk of death by 39 percent.

Included in that reduction was a 34 percent decrease in risk of death from cardiovascular disease, to which diabetics are particularly prone.

"This is the first study to look at a nationally representative sample of people with diabetes," says Edward Gregg, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who did the analysis and wrote the results in a study published in the June 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"Other studies have found that people are less likely to get new diseases if they walk, but we found that walking will increase the length of life once people have diabetes," he says.

This is particularly important, Gregg adds, because of the incidence of the disease.

"Diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses; the ratio in people 60 and older is one out of five or one out of six. But even though the disease increases the risk for death, most people with diabetes will go on to live for a long time. So one of the key things to do is improve the quality of life, and walking will increase the length of life once people have diabetes."

For the analysis, Gregg and his colleagues at the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation used data from the 1990-1991 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to look at the mortality rates for 2,896 diabetics who'd been sick for an average of 11 years. Their average age was 59. In an eight-year follow up, 671 of the participants died, 316 of heart disease.

Looking at the health interviews that were conducted in the early 1990s, including self-reports of exercise among all the participants, the scientists found that those diabetics who walked for at least two hours weekly had a 39 percent lower all-cause death rate and a 34 percent lower death rate from heart disease compared to those who did not walk.

Among those who walked between three and four hours a week, the benefit was even higher, a 53 percent lower death rate from cardiovascular disease. Walking any longer than that didn't result in further benefit, however, the study points out.

Dr. Frank Hu, a diabetes specialist at the Harvard School of Public Health who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study, says the CDC study confirms that walking is an important part of treating diabetes.

"Lifestyle modifications remain a cornerstone for diabetic management," Hu says. "We have very strong evidence that walking and other types of activity can go a long way in reducing mortality and cardiovascular complications from diabetes. Walking is as effective as medicines -- probably more effective, because walking has no side effects."

Brisk walking is the best, Gregg recommends.

"People should be able to carry on a conversation but know that their breathing is elevated," he says.

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