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How Meds Affect Motion


The medications that you take to control your diabetes or other health conditions can alter your body's responses to being active by having differing effects on your blood glucose. Learn more about them below.

Using insulin creates the most problems for anyone who is physically active.  Insulin is the only hormone that lowers blood glucose, and the body normally decreases insulin release during exercise.  For people who inject or pump insulin that is absorbed slowly, though, it can be harder to lower insulin levels enough when active, and low blood glucose can result.  See "Adjusting Insulin Doses" for help.

Other Injectable Meds

Some newer medications other than insulin are taken by injection.  Symlin can be taken to replace the hormone Amylin by people with type 1 diabetes, but its only exercise effect is to slow how quickly food is digested (which can make hypos harder to treat).  None of the injectable meds for type 2 diabetes have any impact on glucose responses to exercise.

Oral Meds

The number and types of diabetes pills has skyrocketed recently.  Oral meds are now available that can target the pancreas (increasing insulin release), the liver (decreasing glucose output), the muscles (making them more responsive to insulin), the gut (slowing down absorption of carbs and glucose), and/or the kidneys (releasing excess glucose in urine).  Only insulin-releasing ones affect diabetes motion. 

Non-Diabetes Meds

Very few non-diabetes prescribed medications have a direct impact on your blood glucose levels.  The exceptions are any types of steroids (like cortisone pills or shots), which make you more insulin resistant and cause blood glucose to rise, and possibly statins (prescribed to lower blood cholesterol), which raise your overall risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

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