Washington D.C. [USA], April 4 (ANI): While engaging in exercise and physical activities is suggested to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a recent study has found additional benefits to those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. The function of the heart can be significantly improved in patients with Type 2 diabetes through exercises, suggest researchers in Leicester.
The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and conducted at the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) -- a partnership between Leicester's Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.
"Heart failure is one of the most common complications in people with Type 2 diabetes, and younger adults with Type 2 diabetes already have changes in their heart structure and function that pose a risk of developing heart failure," said Dr Gaurav Gulsin, a BHF Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Leicester, a trainee heart doctor, and a lead author of the study.
"We wanted to confirm the abnormalities in the structure and function of the heart in this patient population using the latest scanning techniques, and explore whether it is possible to reverse these through exercise and/or weight loss," added Dr Gulsin.
For the research, three groups were made out of 87 patients between 18 and 65 years of age with Type 2 diabetes. Participants underwent echocardiography and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to confirm early heart dysfunction, and exercise tests to measure cardiovascular fitness.
They were then randomised into one of three groups: routine care, supervised aerobic exercise training, or a low-energy meal replacement programme.
The study found that patients who followed the supervised exercise programme had significantly improved heart function compared with the control group, and had also increased their exercise capacity. Whilst 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 this arm of the study population.
"Through this research, we have shown that lifestyle interventions in the form of regular exercise training may be important in limiting and even reversing the damage to heart structure and function seen in younger adults with Type 2 diabetes," said Gerry McCann, NIHR Research Professor and Professor of Cardiac Imaging at the University of Leicester.
McCann also mentioned that losing weight has benefited in improving heart structure but does not appear to improve heart function. (ANI)