Overweight patients suffering from diabetes often have difficulty moving freely. This is particularly true for older patients. However, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine offers some new tips to help patients improve mobility.
Dr. W. Jack Rejeski, the Director of the Behavioral Physiology Laboratory at Wake Forest University was the lead author of the study. Rejeski stated that a number of lifestyle changes could help diabetic patients regain much of their mobility. Lifestyle changes also helped patients with normal mobility avoid watching their condition deteriorate.
The study observed 5,000 patients between the ages of 45 and 74 over the course of 4 years. All patients in the study were suffering from weight loss. They gave full details on their mobility during that time. Rajeski and his colleagues studied the lifestyle changes the subjects made during that time and asked them what impact they had on their mobility.
[box type="note"]Rajeski said it is important for people to make lifestyle changes even if they weren’t suffering from mobility problems. By the time mobility problems occur, it may become more difficult to address them.[/box]
The study advocates diabetic patients take up exercise and make weight loss a priority. Rajeski and his colleagues found that patients reducing their weight by 1% could expect a 7% increase in improved mobility. Furthermore, a 1% increase in physical activity could improve mobility by about 1-2% as well. Patients would clearly benefit most from a combination of the two.
Dr. Vivian Fonseca read Rejeski’s study and found it particularly enlightening. She stated that if people can be motivated to change their lifestyles, they will be able to move more freely. Improved mobility will have a major impact on their lives.
Although Rajeski is encouraged by the findings in the study, he acknowledges that more research will need to be done. He stated that no one has created a large study to assess the correlation between mobility and weight loss. Nonetheless, he hopes that medical professionals will be moved by this study and begin to encourage their patients to make the lifestyle changes they need to live fuller, more active lives.
[box type="important"]Mobility problems tend to become more prevalent among older, heavyset patients. However, those suffering from diabetes are twice as likely to develop those problems as their non-diabetic peers.[/box]