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Diabetes, Cycling, & Insulin

Medical Series Articles: About Medical Depression ] Achilles Tendonitis ] Asthma Medications ] Back Pain ] Bicycling First Aid Kit ] Collarbone & Shoulder Injuries ] Diabetes, Cycling, & Insulin ] Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm ] Forefoot Problems ] Gastrointestinal Problems ] Heat & Cycling ] Injury in the Tour de France ] Muscle Cramps ] Obesity ] Overuse Injuries ] RICE, NSAIDs ] Ride or Rest? ] Riding Poorly--Is It Medical ] Road Rash ] Saddle Sores ] Sleep for Cyclists ] Stretching ] Tips to Lose Weight ] Traumatic Injuries ]

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Most of the information in this article is incorporated into the book Bicycling Medicine.


Diabetes, Cycling, & Insulin (Introduction)

Diabetes is an endocrine (hormonal) problem in which either a lack of insulin or a lack of responsiveness to insulin results in metabolic problems. Insulin is produced in the pancreas.

For those diabetics who take insulin, proper adjustment and dosing improves cycling performance. It helps to prevent the highs and lows of blood sugar associated with diabetic complications.


Diabetics may take medicine by mouth to increase the bodyís responsiveness to the insulin it already produces, or may take insulin by injection to augment or replace what is not made.

Adolescents, or those who develop diabetes as juveniles, stop making any insulin. This is type I diabetes.

Most adults with diabetes are overweight and have type II diabetes. Though type II diabetics make insulin, their tissues respond sluggishly and they need more than they make.

Many obese adults make more insulin than those of optimum weight: they donít respond well to what they do make.

Weight reduction with diet modification and exercise controls or eliminates the signs and symptoms of diabetes in most of these individuals.

Type I diabetics must take insulin. Type II diabetics may be controlled with insulin or other medications.

Much of the discussion below concerns insulin-treated diabetes. This information is not a substitute for individualized, professional, diabetic care.

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