Exercise may alleviate long-lasting COVID-induced diabetes, depression
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — So much about COVID-19 remains a mystery, especially how common “long COVID” symptoms have become in patients after recovery. Many people complain of lingering health problems, both mental and physical, months after their COVID-19 infection has cleared. Now, at least, new research may have uncovered a valid way to treat and prevent some long-running COVID symptoms.
Scientists at Pennington Biomedical Research Center report that exercise could stop the “vicious circle of inflammation” linked to the development of both diabetes and depression in the months after recovering from a bout with COVID-19 .
“We know that Long COVID causes depression, and we know that it can raise blood sugar to the point where people develop diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition common in people with type 1 diabetes,” says Candida Rebello, Ph.D., a researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in a Press release. “Exercise can help. Exercise supports the inflammation that leads to high blood sugar and the development and progression of diabetes and clinical depression.
The true extent of long COVID cases is difficult to pin down. It’s likely that many people live with long COVID symptoms and don’t even realize it or attribute their health issues to another cause. Today, estimates indicate that 15-80% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop long-lasting COVID symptoms. With these statistics in mind, the study authors say it is not at all a stretch to predict up to one million local Louisiana residents suffering from long COVID.
Long COVID leads to ‘a constellation of debilitating symptoms’
Typical long COVID cases cause muscle aches, fatigue, and brain fog that last for months after COVID infection. According to the CDC, the long COVID is “a constellation of debilitating symptoms.”
“For example, a person may not get very sick from COVID-19, but six months later, long after the cough or fever is gone, they develop diabetes,” says Dr. Rebello.
Fortunately, this latest work finally offers a legitimate way to fight this mysterious and disturbing disease. Exercise! Even better, researchers say you don’t even have to work that hard. Just keep moving everyday.
“You don’t have to run a mile or even walk a mile at a brisk pace,” says Dr. Rebello. “Walking slowly is also exercise. Ideally, you would do a 30-minute exercise session. But if you can only do 15 minutes at a time, try doing two 15-minute sessions. If you can only walk 15 minutes once a day, do it. The important thing is to try. It doesn’t matter where you start. You can gradually reach the recommended level of exercise.
“We know that physical activity is a key part of a healthy life. This research shows that exercise can be used to break the chain reaction of inflammation that leads to high blood sugar and then the development or progression of type 2 diabetes,” the study’s co-author concludes. and Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical, John Kirwan, Ph.D.
the study is published in Examinations of Exercise and Sport Science.