Diabetes type 2 has been estimated as the seventh leading cause of death worldwide. Diabetic patients are 2-3 times more likely to be at the risk of atherosclerosis, compared to normal people. It has been reported that exercise prevents atherosclerosis in diabetic patients. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of exercise on vascular variables of patients with type 2 diabetes.
This clinical trial was conducted on 40 patients out of 702 volunteers with diabetes who were randomly assigned into two groups of combined (aerobic and resistance) and control. The intervention protocol included 24 30-min sessions of aerobic exercise on the treadmill without any slope during 8 weeks (three sessions per week). The protocol intensity was set at 50-70% maximum heart rate and volunteers wore a weighted vest during exercise. On the other hand, the control group had no exercise for two months. All variables were measured before the intervention and after 24 sessions of the intervention protocol.
According to the results, there were no differences between the groups regarding demographic characteristics and a history of type 2 diabetes before the intervention. After 24 sessions, there was a significant decrease in the intima-media thickness. Moreover, the ratio of the intima-media thickness to the lumen in three sections of Carotid Bulb, Internal Carotid, and Common Carotid was significantly reduced in the combined exercise group, compared to the control group (P<0.05); however, no significant difference was observed in the lumen diameter (P>0.05). All vascular parameters remained unchanged in the control group (P>0.05).
In total, 24 sessions of aerobic and resistance exercise had a positive effect on vascular parameters. According to the simulation of a backpack by a weighted vest, the method used in this study was considered as a cheap and useful technique for patients with type 2 diabetes.