Physical Therapy Helps Diabetic Patients Reduce Medication, and Improve Quality of Life


By John R. Mishock, PT, DPT, DC

Approximately 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population have diabetes mellitus. Twenty five percent of all Americans age 65 and older have diabetes. Even young people are affected by diabetes, with 193,000 Americans under the age of 20 having the disease. The cost to manage and treat diabetes is a staggering $327 billion annually. (CDC National Diabetes Stat Report 2017)

Diabetes comes in 3 types (Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational). Regardless of the type, your body normally breaks down the carbohydrates we eat into glucose. Glucose is the fuel the body uses for energy. The cells need insulin hormone, which is the key to open up the door to allow body tissues to use the glucose. With diabetes, either your body doesn’t make enough insulin, (Type 1) or it does not efficiently use the insulin it produces (Type 2).

A proper diet is essential to managing diabetes. The diet should include lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Beyond the diet, it is essential to exercise. Proper exercise can improve glucose sensitivity and transport, and in some cases reduce diabetes medication use. Exercise has also been shown to: Improve fitness and reduce obesity; reduce cardiovascular disease; decrease some types of cancers; and improve confidence.

For diabetics, the goal would be to get 30-60 min of aerobic activity be performed most days or a minimum of 150 minutes per week. Moderate-intensity resistive training should be performed 2 times per week with 8-12 repetitions, working major muscle groups of the core, (abdominals/hips), upper, and lower body. Exercise should be avoided if the insulin levels fall below 100 mg/dl or above 250 mg/dl.

Often starting exercise is difficult. This is where your physical therapist can help. Physical therapists have a doctorate level education and are experts in body function and exercise. A short course of physical therapy can get the diabetic patient started on a safe exercise program that will enhance the individual’s health and their quality of life.

We can help!
If pain is limiting you from doing the activities you enjoy, call Mishock Physical Therapy for a Free Phone Consultation (610)327-2600. Email your questions to Visit our website to learn more about our treatment philosophy, our physical therapy staff, and our 6 convenient locations in Gilbertsville, Skippack, Phoenixville, Barto, Limerick, and Stowe (Pottstown) at

Dr. Mishock is one of only a few clinicians with doctorate level degrees in both physical therapy and chiropractic in the state of Pennsylvania.

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