Diabetes and hypertension are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. According to the National Diabetes Management and Research Centre, about one out of every two patients diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) in Ghana has hypertension. Effective interventions are needed to resolve the burden of individuals with type 2 diabetes living with hypertension. Although pharmacological treatments can be costly and necessary for treating some blood pressure conditions, lifestyle modifications could also be implemented.
Aim: To determine the effects of aerobic exercises on fasting blood glucose and blood pressure in patients with type 2 diabetes living with hypertension consulting as outpatients at the National Diabetes Management and Research Centre in Korle Bu hospital, Accra, Ghana.
Method: An experimental design using single arm-controlled trial was undertaken.
Both males and females above 18-years of age, consulting as outpatients at the National Diabetes Management and Research Centre in Korle Bu hospital, Accra were recruited to participate in this study. Fasting blood glucose samples, anthropometric measurements and a distance walked using a six-minute walk test (6MWT) were measured at baseline and at two months (at the end of the intervention). Blood pressure measurements were taken on the day of exercise, before and after exercise. The intervention consisted of a 12 to 20 minutes of brisk walking three times a week, excluding weekends for a period of eight weeks (two months). Time was increased from 12 to 15 minutes in the fifth and sixth weeks, then from 15 to 20 minutes in the seventh and eighth weeks respectively. Data was analysed using STATA series 11 statistical package. Data were summarised with descriptive statistics, such as mean and standard deviation at 95% confidence interval limit. A paired t-test was used to compare baseline measurements of fasting blood glucose and at the end of eight weeks of aerobic exercise. Similar analysis was employed for blood pressure levels and 6MWT. Inferential statistics was used to establish the associations between age and changes in fasting blood glucose levels and blood pressure. Testing was done at the 0.05 level of significance.
Results: There were 52(87%) females and 8(13%) males. Forty-eight (n=48) of these participants were diagnosed with T2DM before hypertension (80%) whilst twelve (n=12) of them were diagnosed with hypertension first before T2DM (20%). There was a statistically significant reduction of fasting blood glucose and blood pressure levels with a decreased rate of perceived exertion (RPE) between baseline and post intervention measurements. Waist-hip ratio decreased by 0.01 and this change was also statistically significant, p<0.05.