Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2) is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases of the aged and contributes to a significant amount of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. Exercise training may be beneficial in attenuating the cardiovascular maladaptations associated with DM-2. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of exercise training on left ventricular (LV) and vascular function in a sample of postmenopausal women with DM-2.
Methods: Twenty-eight postmenopausal women with DM-2 (age: 59 +/- 7 yrs) were assigned to either an exercise training (ET) (n = 17) or control group (CT) (n = 7). Cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2peak), LV filling dynamics and arterial compliance were assessed at baseline in all participants. The ET group performed a supervised aerobic and resistance training intervention three days per week for a period of 10 weeks, while the CT group continued normal activities of daily living.
Results: Body mass index, VO2peak, age and duration of diabetes were similar between the ET and CT groups at baseline. VO2peak (21.3 +/- 3.3 to 24.5 +/- 4.2 ml.kg-1.min-1, p < 0.05) and large artery compliance (1.0 +/- 0.4 to 1.2 +/- 0.4 mL.mmHg-1, p < 0.05), increased significantly in the ET group following training despite no change in LV filling dynamics, blood pressure, lipid profile or insulin sensitivity. All variables remained unchanged in the CT group.
Conclusions: Exercise training improves large artery compliance and cardiorespiratory fitness in postmenopausal women with DM-2, without any appreciable changes in LV filling dynamics or conventional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.