August 23, 2013

Physical Fitness of T1D Kids


timed-mileBack in the day, as a standardized test in gym, we’d run a timed mile to see how we compared with the rest of the nation. The International Journal of Endocrinology has published a study measuring T1D kids in physical fitness with other non-diabetic kids.

The aim of this study was to see if T1D kids are less physically fit than healthy children. If so,  is an elevated HbA1c associated with decreased physical fitness?

Fair hypothesis, considering if HbA1c is elevated, the amount of oxygen your cells can carry is reduced because the real estate is hogged-up by glucose.

In the study, children with T1D were compared with healthy, non-diabetic kids. All the kids completed a  6MWT, or a 6-minute walk test. Their heart rate and oxygen saturation was recorded.

After the 6-minute walk test, kids with T1D were divided into two subgroups, one with HbA1c levels >8% and one with HbA1c <8%. Results for both groups were lower, compared to the non-diabetic kids.

In all kids, diabetic and non-diabetic, pulse rates was higher than the before the test. Pulse oxygen levels were lower than non-diabetic kids before the test. After the test, pulse oxygen levels decreased. However, the change in oxygen saturation did not differ much between diabetic and non-diabetic kids.

The study finds that kids with T1D are less fit than kids without diabetes. But the level of HbA1c did not affect the physical fitness of children with T1D.

Kids with T1D compensate for their lack of pre and post 6MWT finish times by recuperating in lockstep with non-diabetic kids.  This doesn’t make T1D kids bad. It makes us more savvy with how we choose to spend our energy. Choose your battles wisely.

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