BALTIMORE (WJZ)— There’s a breakthrough study on the importance of exercise for people with diabetes.

Andrea Fujii explains what Johns Hopkins doctors discovered.

If Claire O’Neill doesn’t exercise and monitor what she eats, her Type 2 diabetes will take over.

“You have a lot of ups and downs with diabetes, and you really have to try really hard,” O’Neill said.

And a new study by doctors, including several from Johns Hopkins Hospital, show O’Neill is taking the right precautions.

“Exercising is mobilizing fatty acid in the body, and the heart knows how to use them,” said Dr. Nazareno Paolocci, who conducted the study.

For diabetic patients who often feel lethargic, exercise releases the fat that can worsen their diabetes.

And the study also showed that fat helps the heart to beat like people without the disease.

“They were beating, performing, contracting and relaxing like normal hearts with no damage,” Paolocci said.

Doctors are not saying for patients to eat more fatty foods.  A lot of the fat used for energy is already stored in the body.

The results are particularly pertinent for Marylanders. About 8.7 percent of Marylanders, or 496,000 people, have diabetes. That’s 0.5 percent more than the national average.

O’Neill is one of the lucky ones, taking control of her health one step at a time.

“You’re at risk for death. It’s a very serious disease,” she said.

Researchers just started on the second part of the study to see if specific fats will make a diabetic heart work even better during exercise.

The study was published online in the journal Diabetes.


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