Health Beat

Health Beat: Exercise app to control diabetes

Health Beat: Exercise app to control diabetes

SALT LAKE CITY - Edwin Espinel has managed his Type 2 diabetes mostly with diet for more than 13 years. He's active but was surprised how much exercise affects his blood sugar.

"I knew it would help me, but I didn't know that it could actually bring down my glucose level almost immediately," Espinel explained.

Dr. Bryan Gibson's team at the University of Utah developed this interactive program to show Type 2 diabetics the big impact exercise can have.

"You generally see around a 24, 25 percent drop in blood glucose within, say, half an hour of a walk," said Gibson, an assistant professor in the biomedical information department at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

More than 1,300 people plugged basic information into the test webpage, got a blood sugar curve, then moved the mouse to measure how they thought exercise affected things.

"There's two ideas here," Gibson said. "One is we want to motivate people by showing them this positive effect. That's kind of our main interest, but also, we want to measure people's beliefs with this task of them drawing, what do they think would happen?"

Gibson said people learned the real impact of walking and exercise, and increased plans to walk by more than 30 minutes the next week. Espinel said an app for this can't come too soon.

"Having an application like that would actually give me a tool that can say, that can put the management of diabetes per se, in my hands," he said.

Espinel will have to wait a bit longer while Gibson's team makes the app more patient-specific with glucose and activity monitors. They also want healthcare providers to be able to use the app for patient education. There's no timeline yet on when it might hit the market.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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