Diabetes mellitus is a chronic endocrine disorder characterised by hyperglycaemia resulting from either defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. 1 Regular physical activity and participation in team sports from a young age have been associated with reduced macrovascular complications in type-1 diabetes and a delay in the onset of type-2 diabetes. 2
Athletes suffering from diabetes mellitus range from recreational athletes to competitive athletes participating in sport at the highest level. While the health benefits of physical activity are numerous, it is well established that exercise has specific short- and long-term effects on glucose control, which need to be closely monitored in order to avoid complications in diabetic athletes. All diabetic athletes engaging in physical activity must be periodically screened for complications, comorbidities and risk factors. Based on this assessment and the athlete’s exercise goals, an individualised training schedule and diabetes care plan should be created for the diabetic athlete.
This module will provide a general overview of diabetes mellitus, the effects of exercise on glucose metabolism, and details on how to identify and manage potential complications in the diabetic football player.
Prof Martin Schwellnus
Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician