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"These findings suggest that exercise performed shortly after exposure to high altitude may increase the risk of exercise-mediated hypoglycemia," said study author Cory Dugan, from the University of Western Australia.
To assess how exercise at high altitudes affects blood sugar in people with diabetes, researchers measured blood sugar levels in seven people with type 1 diabetes before and after they did two indoor cycling sessions that mimicked conditions at sea level and at high altitude.
After one hour of exercise at a simulated altitude of 4,200 meters (about half the height of Mount Everest) and during recovery, the participants' blood sugar levels were significantly lower.
The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and show that people with diabetes may need to closely monitor their blood sugar when doing high-altitude activities.
"We ask that future guidelines consider these findings to increase the safety of people with type 1 diabetes when traveling from low- to high-altitude areas like the mountains without any acclimatization," Dugan said in a journal news release.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on blood sugar monitoring.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, news release, Dec. 22, 2021
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