Effects of Tai Chi Exercise on glucose control, neuropathy scores, balance, and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy

J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Dec;18(12):1172-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0690. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of Tai Chi exercise on glucose control, neuropathy scores, balance, and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy.

Methods: A pretest-posttest design with a nonequivalent control group was utilized to recruit 59 diabetic patients with neuropathy from an outpatient clinic of a university hospital. A standardized Tai Chi for diabetes program was provided, which comprised 1 hour of Tai Chi per session, twice a week for 12 weeks. Outcome variables were fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin for glucose control, the Semmes-Weinstein 10-g monofilament examination scores and total symptom scores for neuropathy, single leg stance for balance, and the Korean version of the SF-36v2 for quality of life. Thirty-nine patients completed the posttest measures after the 12-week Tai Chi intervention, giving a 34% dropout rate.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 64 years, and they had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for more than 12 years. The status was significantly better for the participants in the Tai Chi group (n=20) than for their control (i.e., nonintervention) counterparts (n=19) in terms of total symptom scores, glucose control, balance, and quality of life.

Conclusion: Tai Chi improved glucose control, balance, neuropathic symptoms, and some dimensions of quality of life in diabetic patients with neuropathy. Further studies with larger samples and long-term follow-up are needed to confirm the effects of Tai Chi on the management of diabetic neuropathy, which may have an impact on fall prevention in this population.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / therapy*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Tai Ji*

Substances

  • Blood Glucose