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Diabetes is a serious disease. People get diabetes when their blood glucose level, sometimes called blood sugar, is too high. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism—the way the body uses digested food for growth and energy. Diabetes can lead to dangerous health problems, such as having a heart attack or stroke. The good news is that there are things you can do to take control of diabetes and prevent its problems, and if you are worried about getting diabetes, there are things you can do to lower your risk.


Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body. The disease often leads to blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage.

12.2 million or 23.1 percent, of all people age 60 years or older have diabetes.


Diabetes is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. In 2006, it was the seventh leading cause of death. However, diabetes is likely to be underreported as the under lying cause of death on death certificates. In 2004, among people ages 65 years or older, heart disease was noted on 68 percent of diabetes-related death certificates; stroke was noted on 16 percent of diabetes-related death certificates for the same age group.


Diabetes Statistics:


⦁Diabetes affects over 20 million Americans, many of whom are unaware that they have the disease.

⦁More than 1.5 million cases of diabetes are diagnosed annually.

⦁By the age of 60, almost 20% of people are living with diabetes.

⦁More than 50% of people with diabetes develop serious vascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, stroke, or kidney failure.

⦁Deaths from diabetic complications are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

⦁In 2012, medical costs of diabetes were estimated to be $245 billion.


In 2012, total diabetes cost in the United States was $245 billion. Indirect costs, including disability payments, time lost from work, and reduced productivity, totaled $69 billion. Direct medical costs for diabetes care, including hospitalizations, medical care, and treatment supplies, totaled $116 billion.

After adjusting for population age and sex differences, average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed with diabetes were 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.


Characteristics of the Metabolic Syndrome


Abdominal Obesity


Waist circumference


⦁40 inches (>102 centimeters)


⦁>35 inches (>88 centimeters)


Fasting triglycerides

>150 mg/dL


HDL cholesterol


<40 mg/dL


<50 mg/dL


Blood Pressure

>130/>85 mm Hg or on antihypertensive medications


Fasting glucose

>110 mg/dL


Exercise plays a crucial role in the regulation of Diabetes. Regular physical activity is the most important non dietary factor that improves glucose control in the body. This is because skeletal muscle is the largest glucose-consuming tissue in the human body and any type of exercise stimulates the uptake of glucose and the utilization of glucose as an energy source within muscle.  In fact, exercise is shown to have a stimulating effect on the expression of genes that reduce the risk of diabetes.




These exercise EXAMPLES are INFORMATION ONLY and are not intended to be instruction, advice, or incorporated into any individual exercise program. Use of or experimentation with any of the EXAMPLE EXCERCISES will be solely at your own risk. Always consult a Physician before beginning any exercise program. It is highly recommended to seek the advice of a Certified Personal Trainer, especially one with Senior Fitness experience.


Here are some Exercise Recommendations for people with Diabetes:


Aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility exercises/stretching; balance exercises, and activity throughout the day are the types of activities recommended for people with diabetes.  If you are unsure that the fitness activity is safe and effective consult with health fitness professional. Here are some additional recommendations:


1. People with peripheral neuropathy may experience a reducing sensation in the feet. It is best to have well-fitting and comfortable footwear and to maintain proper foot hygiene due to the potential for undetected injury and infection.

2. When exercising people with Diabetes should monitor blood glucose levels before and after exercise. If blood glucose levels are above 250 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), it is recommended that they do not exercise and instead consult their physician.

3. Take regular breaks during exercise to allow for fluid intake and urination, both of which are common in persons with hyperglycemia.

4. Always ensure a safe environment while balance training. Peripheral neuropathy and vision impairments due to retinopathy are common in diabetics and may compromise balance.

6. Avoid exercises that increase blood pressure to dangerously high levels, such as overhead lifting, vigorous exercise, or high-intensity isometric exercises. This may cause further harm to the blood vessels of the eye and damage vision.


If you haven't been very active recently, you can start out with 10 or 15 minutes a day. Then, increase your activity sessions by a few minutes each week. Over time, you'll see your fitness improve, and you'll find that you're able to do more. Be more active throughout the day, park your car farther from your destination, take the stairs, do some yard work. It all adds up!


For more information on Diabetes call the American Diabetes Association on Oahu at Phone: 808-947-5979,



©2014 NASM National Academy of Sports Medicine

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