Hormonal response during physical exercise of different intensities in adolescents with type 1 diabetes and healthy controls

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Physical activity is a critical component in the care of diabetes. Although it offers health benefits it presents challenges.


To investigate differences between adolescent boys and girls with type 1 diabetes and healthy controls in terms of maximal work capacity (VO2 max) and hormonal response to physical exercise of different intensities.


Twelve individuals (six boys and six girls; age 14–19 yr, pubertal stage 4–5) with type 1 diabetes (duration, 6.3 ± 4.4 yr; hemoglobin A1c, 63 ± 10 mmol/mol) were compared with 12 healthy controls matched for age, sex, pubertal stage, body mass index standard deviation score, and amount of regular physical activity.


During consecutive days, three different workloads; maximal, endurance, and interval, were performed on an Ergometer cycle. During the tests, levels of lactate, glucose, insulin, and regulatory hormones [glucagon, cortisol, growth hormone (GH), adrenaline, and noradrenaline] were measured in blood. Subcutaneous glucose was measured continuously.


VO2 max did not differ between the groups, diabetes 49.8 ± 9.9 vs. control 50.7 ± 12.0 mL/min/kg. Hormonal responses did not differ between the groups except for mean peak GH level during the interval test, diabetes 63.2 ± 27.0 vs. control 33.8 ± 20.9 mU/L, p < 0.05.


Physical capacity and hormonal regulation of blood glucose in connection with physical exercise of different intensities did not differ between adolescents with diabetes and healthy controls. Thus, adolescents with type 1 diabetes can participate in physical activity on the same terms as healthy peers.

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