High to middle levels of physical activity are associated with a lower risk of mortality in patients who have diabetes mellitus (DM), according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. In the study, mortality risk was lower in moderately active patients than in physically inactive patients. Moderately active patients generally were younger and were predominantly men with a lower body mass index and lower HbA1c levels. They also had shorter DM disease durations, used insulin more frequently, and reported fewer comorbidities. Even patients taking part in leisure-time physical activity or walking had lower risks of mortality and of cardiovascular disease mortality than inactive patients.
The authors noted that their findings provide empirical evidence supporting the widely shared view that persons with DM should engage in regular physical activity. They suggested that future studies focus on the determinants of physical inactivity, the results of which could be used to design successful strategies for engaging patients in active lifestyles.
A separate study also published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that the use of intensive blood pressure targets instead of standard blood pressure targets in patients with type 2 DM can have a small impact on stroke risk but not on mortality or myocardial infarction risk. The authors recommended that these new findings be considered in future iterations of clinical practice guidelines.