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Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There is not any one specific cause of diabetes however there are many factors which contribute to a higher risk of getting the disease including but not limited to genetics, obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Type 1 Diabetes – Caused by genetics and unknown factors
There is no cure, however it can be managed to prevent further diabetes-related complications.

Type 2 Diabetes – Caused by genetics and lifestyle factors
Can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes.

Prediabetes affects more than 84 million adults in America
Losing weight and staying active can greatly reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Diet – A healthy diet is one that is rich in nutrients and low in calories. Eat foods high in fiber such as fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts.
Hydration – Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks and caffeine.
Exercise – It’s very important to exercise for 45 minutes or more at least 3-4 times per week. Walking, riding a bicycle, running, and swimming are a few examples.

Therapy’s Role in Managing Diabetes

Occupational Therapy can help improve the individual’s physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and sensory aspects; which are important in all aspects of everyday living activities.
Physical Therapy can assess to determine a set exercise routine that would be safe and beneficial. Also, diabetic neuropathy can be treated with massage, balance and gait training, and conditioning.
Speech Therapy can assist with difficulty swallowing or talking, due to complications of diabetes.

 


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Research shows regular exercise can slow cardiovascular aging.

As you age and become less active, your heart just like any other muscle in your body can weaken. Healthy blood vessels are flexible however with age blood vessels can become less elastic creating more work on the heart to pump.

Many of the effects of aging on the heart and blood vessels can be reduced by regular exercise. Just like other muscles, it’s possible to strengthen your heart too. Regular cardio exercise continues to display powerful benefits on slowing down the hearts aging process. Exercise is beneficial at any age; always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine.

Physical Activities for Older Adults

The US Department of Health & Human Services has established key exercise guidelines for older adults. For substantial health benefits, adults are encouraged to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.

AEROBIC ACTIVITIES:

  • Walking or hiking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycle riding
  • Aerobic exercise classes

MUSCLE-STRENGTHENING ACTIVITIES:

  • Weight machines
  • Hand-held weights
  • Digging in the garden
  • Carrying groceries
  • Some forms of tai chi
  • Some yoga postures

Also, the American Heart Association recommends walking at least 150 minutes a week or 10,000 steps a day. Studies show for every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy for some people may increase by two hours.

 

Therapy Can Help with Cardiac Conditions

If you have a cardiac/cardiopulmonary condition, talk to your doctor about your treatment plan and ask if Physical or Occupational therapy can help. Therapy interventions include help with energy conservation techniques, activity tolerance training, sternal precautions after surgery, adaptive equipment training, stress management strategies, breathing techniques, home exercise programs, and patient education on diet and heart disease. The goal of therapy is to help you control your symptoms and resume an active and productive life within the limits of your condition.


Resources: Dept. of Health & Human Services, American Heart Association