Can moderate exercise repair diabetes-related blood vessel damage?


What if someone told you that light exercise could help you reverse your diabetic foot, a condition in which high blood sugar harms the nerves and blood vessels in the feet and causes you to feel numb or tingly at the edges? We now have proof that exercise can actually activate a system our bodies have for producing new blood vessels when the ones we already have are destroyed by this disease.


Recent studies by the Medical College of Georgia’s (MCG) Vascular Biology Center demonstrate that diabetics can also experience angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels, if they engage in moderate-intensity exercise. According to the study published in The FASEB Journal, this makes it possible for more exosomes, submicroscopic containers laden with biologically active cargo, to transfer directly to those cells more of the protein, ATP7A, which can initiate angiogenesis. Diabetes now causes a decrease in ATP7A levels. Exosomes are released into the circulation when muscles contract during physical activity, such as treadmill running or walking.

While Dr. Tohru Fukai, an MCG vascular biologist and cardiologist, and Dr. Masuko Ushio-Fukai, a vascular biologist and co-author, are unsure of the exact source of these beneficial exosomes, it is evident that endothelial cells are one of the destinations for their delivery. Two weeks of voluntary running on a wheel for the mice and one cardio session for the humans boosted levels of ATP7A in the exosomes that are associated to endothelial cells in both an animal model of Type 2 diabetes and a small group of healthy 50-something-year-olds. The scientists add that at that time, the activity had no discernible effect on the mice’s body weight, but it did enhance a marker of endothelial function and elements like vascular endothelial growth factor, which are essential for angiogenesis.


The study’s conclusions offer hope to many Indians who suffer from co-morbidities, including cardiac disease and diabetes. According to Dr. Anoop Misra, Chairman of the Fortis CDOC Centre for Diabetes, “We frequently receive symptoms of diabetic foot, in which the patient’s blood vessels are severely compromised. In fact, the associated dangers of hypertension and cholesterol frequently make their condition worse. Therefore, this study is intriguing in that it raises the prospect of new blood vessels developing in diabetics whose blood vessels are first impacted for the first time. Of course, we recommend modest exercise and walking as initial treatments, but this is the first time their value has been demonstrated in a clinical setting.

He obviously has a qualification. This conclusion has to be supported by real-world evidence. It is important to assess if the development of new blood vessels can considerably lessen the effects of heart, kidney, and eye damage. Would it be able to heal ulcers if it could heal diabetic feet? Dr. Misra continues, “For that, we need further research and human trials in all conditions.


The Harvard medical school updates state that numerous research have demonstrated that exercise reduced HbA1c readings in individuals with diabetes from various ethnic groups who were taking various medications and adhering to a variety of diets. Even when they didn’t lose any weight, the values increased.

Previously sedentary older people with abdominal obesity who were at risk for diabetes found that resistance training and aerobic exercise both reduced their levels of insulin resistance. It was shown that combining the two forms of exercise was more advantageous than practising each one alone. A minimum of two hours of walking each week reduced the chance of heart disease death in diabetics, and three to four hours of exercise each week further reduced the risk. Women with diabetes who engaged in at least four hours of strenuous or moderate exercise each week—including walking—had a 40% lower chance of getting heart disease than those who did not. According to its publication, these advantages continued even after researchers took into account confounding variables including BMI, smoking, and other heart disease risk factors. To prevent hypoglycemia, it is advisable to check one’s blood sugar levels before and after exercise. If one’s blood sugar is excessively high (over 250), one should avoid exercising because it might occasionally cause blood sugar to rise even higher.