Physical Activity Linked to Lower Mortality Risks in Diabetes Patients

High to mid-levels of physical activity are associated with lower mortality risks in individuals with diabetes, according to a study published on Sept. 24 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.


According to the study, compared with physically inactive persons, the lowest mortality risk was observed in moderately active persons (hazard ratios were 0.62 (95 percent CI, 0.49-0.78) for total mortality and 0.51 (95 percent CI, 0.32-0.81) for CVD mortality). These individuals tended to be younger and predominantly male with lower BMI and lower HbA1c levels. In addition, they also had shorter diabetes durations and were more likely to use insulin and to report fewer comorbidities.

However, the study authors noted that even those individuals taking part in leisure-time physical activity or walking had lower mortality risk and lower CVD mortality risk, respectively, than inactive individuals. "These findings provide empirical evidence supporting the widely shared view that persons with diabetes should engage in regular [physical activity]," they said. Moving forward, the authors suggest that future studies should focus on the determinants of physical inactivity, the results of which could then be used to design successful strategies for engaging people in active lifestyles.

Meanwhile, a separate study also published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that the use of intensive blood pressure (BP) targets, instead of standard BP targets, in patients with type 2 diabetes can have a small impact on stroke risk, but not on risks for mortality or myocardial infarction.

Results from the study showed a small absolute decrease in the risk for stroke (absolute risk difference, −0.01; 95 percent CI, −0.02 to −0.00) but no statistically significant difference in the risk for mortality (relative risk difference, 0.76; 95 percent CI, 0.55-1.05) or myocardial infarction (MI) (relative risk difference, 0.93; 95 percent CI, 0.80-1.08).

According to the study authors, these results are in contrast to pooled analyses comparing standard BP targets and historical treatment, which found clinically significant decreases in the risk for all three outcomes, with relative risks of 0.82 for mortality, 0.68 for MI, and 0.60 for stroke. As such, the authors recommend these new findings be considered in future iterations of clinical practice guidelines.

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