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Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes Have Poor Muscle Health

Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes Have Poor Muscle Health

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  • Young adults with Type 1 diabetes were found to have poor muscle health
  • Changes in mitochondria impair muscle function and the ability to manage blood sugar
  • Regular aerobic exercise increases the number of mitochondria in the muscle and helps muscle cells use more glucose

Poor muscle health could be one of the complications of Type 1 diabetes, even among active young adults. The reason behind this was found to be dysfunctional mitochondria that cause the muscles not to use glucose and in the process, damages the muscle cells.

Young adults with and without Type 1 diabetes were analyzed by the research team, where muscle biopsies were done, especially in those who have exceeded their Diabetes Canada's recommended weekly levels for physical activity.


Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes Have Poor Muscle Health

Link between Diabetes and Muscle Complications

A muscle biopsy is a procedure, which is used to diagnose diseases involving muscle tissue. The new study was conducted by scientists from McMaster and York universities.

The results showed that there were changes in the mitochondrial structure and function of those with diabetes. The mitochondria were less capable of producing energy for the muscle, and also high amounts of toxic reactive oxygen species that cause cell damage were being released.

These changes can lead to reduced metabolism and difficulty in controlling blood glucose levels. If left unchecked can lead to an accelerated rate of disability.

In this study, poor muscle health was also added to the list of Type 1 diabetes complications, apart from nerve damage, kidney disorders and heart disease.

Thomas Hawke, the corresponding author of the study and a professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster, said, "Now we know that even active people with diabetes have changes in their muscles that could impair their ability to manage blood sugar. Knowing in the long term that this could contribute to faster development of disability, we can start to address it early on."

Importance of Muscle Health

Skeletal muscle, the largest metabolic organ helps in clearing blood sugar after having a meal. Therefore, it is necessary to keep this muscle healthy, said Christopher Perry, study co-senior author and an associate professor of kinesiology and health sciences and the Muscle Health Research Centre at York University.

Regular exercise, mainly aerobic can increase the number of mitochondria in the muscle and helps muscle cells use more glucose making them more efficient.

Perry suggested that the current guidelines available for Type 1 diabetics need to be revised.

"We believe these dysfunctional mitochondria are what's causing the muscle not to use glucose properly and also to damage muscle cells in the process. We were surprised to see the muscles were this unhealthy in young adults with Type 1 diabetes who were regularly active," said Perry.

The research team said that there is a need for further study and to revise evidence-based exercise guidelines for Type 1 diabetes. These are essential to keep people with Type 1 diabetes in good health.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen during exercise that helps break down glucose and fat for energy. Aerobic exercise is a form of physical activity that uses the muscles in the arms, legs, and hips to maintain the overall health of the body. Few examples of aerobic exercise include running, bicycling, swimming, rowing, etc.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise:
    1. Aerobics increase the functional capacity of the heart and keeps it healthy and active.

    2. Exercise helps burn fat leading to weight loss.

    3. Aerobic exercise can help decrease blood pressure and LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or bad cholesterol and increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

    4. Regular aerobic exercise can help improve certain mental functions, including attention and memory, also keeps the person away from depression, stress, and anxiety.

    5. Aerobic exercise strengthens immune system and fights against viral fever, flu, and cold.

    6. Women who are engaged in doing regular aerobic exercise at least three times a week are at reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

    7. Exercise helps improve muscles health, thereby strengthening bones and joints.

    8. Aerobic exercise can lower the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

    9. Regular exercise may increase body resistance.

    10. Aerobic exercises increase the maximum consumption of oxygen by the body.

    Source: Medindia

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