Exercise app to control diabetes

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Apps could soon show type two diabetics the big impact exercise can have on blood sugar levels. (KFSN)

Scientists say they've come up with a way to show type two diabetics just how exercise can help them maintain healthy blood sugar levels. And the new technology is not only educational but also motivational; it's getting patients moving, too!

Edwin Espinel has managed his type two diabetes mostly with diet for more than 13 years. He's active but was surprised how much exercise affects his blood sugar.

"I knew it would help me, but I didn't know that it could actually bring down my glucose level almost immediately," Espinel explained.

Bryan Gibson's team at the University of Utah developed this interactive program to show type two diabetics the big impact exercise can have.

Bryan Gibson, DPT, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Information at the University of Utah School of Medicine said, "You generally see around a 24, 25 percent drop in blood glucose within, say, half an hour of a walk."

More than 13 hundred people plugged basic information into the test web page, got a blood sugar curve, then moved the mouse to measure how they thought exercise affected things.

Doctor Gibson continued, "There are two ideas here: One is we want to motivate people by showing them this positive effect, that's kind of our main interest; But also, we want to measure people's beliefs with this Task of them drawing, what do they think would happen?"

Gibson says people learned the real impact of walking and exercise and increased plans to walk by more than 30 minutes the next week. Edwin says an app for this can't come too soon.

"Having an application like that would actually give me a tool that can say, that can put the management of diabetes per se, in my hands," Espinel said.

Edwin will have to wait a bit longer while Doctor Gibson's team makes the app more patient-specific with glucose and activity monitors. They also want health care providers to be able to use the app for patient education. No timeline yet on when this might hit the market.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
Stacy Kish
Stacy.kish@hsc.utah.edu

Bryan Gibson
Bryan.gibson@utah.edu
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