Exercise in type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients treated with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion. Prevention of exercise induced hypoglycaemia

Diabetologia. 1990 Nov;33(11):696-703. doi: 10.1007/BF00400572.


The study was performed to investigate the effects of mild to moderate exercise on blood glucose levels, metabolite concentrations and responses of counterregulatory hormones in tightly controlled Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients treated by continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, and to quantify the measures necessary to prevent acute and late exercise-induced hypoglycaemia. Seven male patients started a 60 min exercise period 90 min after an insulin bolus and a standard breakfast; they were monitored during a post-exercise resting period of 5 h 30 min. Different basal and premeal insulin infusion rates were applied. (Near)normoglycaemia prevailed throughout the study during the control protocol when the subjects did not exercise and received their usual insulin dose. When they exercised without changing the insulin dose, four patients were forced to stop due to hypoglycaemia. This effect of exercise could be attenuated but not completely avoided if the basal infusion rate of insulin was discontinued during the exercise period. The pronounced increase in catecholamine and growth hormone concentrations during exercise were not sufficient to prevent hypoglycaemic reactions. Hypoglycaemia during exercise could only be prevented when the premeal insulin bolus was reduced by 50% in addition to the discontinuation of the basal insulin infusion during exercise. In order to reduce late hypoglycaemic reactions after exercise the best measure proved to be a reduction of the basal insulin infusion rate by 25% during post-exercise hours. Administration of only 50% of the basal insulin infusion rate during this time was associated with blood glucose levels being raised up to 8 mmol/l.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / etiology
  • Hypoglycemia / physiopathology
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine