Staying Fit to Stay Alive

Diabetes patients with left ventricle hypertrophy increase chance of survival by being physically fit

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Exercise is good for just about everyone. The fitter you are, the better you'll feel. Fitness is especially important when it comes to diabetes and heart problems.

Being fit could save you from fatal consequences.

Diabetes patients with a certain heart defect have a better chance of survival if they are physically fit.

"Stay active to control your diabetes."

Both diabetes and left ventricle hypertrophy (LVH) - a heart defect that makes it harder for the heart to pump enough blood through the body - increase the risk of death.

Khaled A. Alswat, MBBS, of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at George Washington University, and colleagues wanted to see how physical fitness was related to the effects of these two diseases.

They found that diabetes patients with LVH who were not physically fit had the highest risk of death of all the study's participants. By comparison, physically fit patients had a much lower risk of death, whether or not they had LVH.

"Exercise fitness markedly improves survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and left ventricle hypertrophy," says Alswat. "We also found that improvement in fitness improves survival significantly, regardless of the presence or absence of left ventricle wall thickness."

The study's results show that patients with low physical fitness and LVH had a 20 percent greater risk of death, compared to those with low physical fitness and no LVH.

Physically fit patients without LVH had a 41 percent lower risk of death, compared to those with low physical fitness and no LVH.

Physically fit patients with LVH had a 43 percent lower risk of death.

For their study, the researchers followed 866 older males with type 2 diabetes. Participants had an average age of 61 years.

Fitness was measured using a standard treadmill test. Participants were classified as low fit or physically fit. LVH was diagnosed using echocardiogram - a test that uses sound waves to make an image of the heart.

Some patients were followed for as long as 24 years. In that time, 346 participants died.

The study was presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 26, 2012
Last Updated:
November 27, 2012