Contents Introduction Overview of Diabetes Type I What is diabetes type I Health implications of diabetes type I Physical Activity What is physical activity? Why do we need physical activity in our lives? Physical Activity and Diabetes (Epidemiology) Conclusion Bibliography Introduction For our seminar topic "physical activity and disease" we chose diabetes as the focus of our research. Since diabetes is such a complex disease with many different forms, we decided to focus on diabetes type I. This is known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). This type of diabetes includes people who are dependant on injections of insulin on a daily basis in order to satisfy the bodies insulin needs, they cannot survive without these injections. OVERVIEW OF DIABETES TYPE I What is diabetes type I? In order to understand the disease we firstly need to know about insulin. Insulin is a hormone. The role of insulin is to convert the food we eat into various useful substances, discarding everything that is wasteful. It is the job of insulin to see that the useful substances are put to best use for our well-being. The useful substances are used for building cells, are made ready for immediate expenditure as energy and also stored for later energy expenditure. The cause of diabetes is an absolute or lack of the hormone insulin. As a result of this lack of insulin the processes that involve converting the foods we eat into various useful substances does not occur. Insulin comes from the beta cells which are located in the pancreas. In the case of diabetes type I almost all of the beta cells have been destroyed. Therefore daily injections of insulin become essential to life. Health implications of diabetes type I One of the products that is of vital importance in our bodies is glucose, a simple carbohydrate sugar which is needed by virtually every part of our body as fuel to function. Insulin controls the amount of glucose distributed to vital organs and also the muscles. In diabetics due to the lack of insulin and therefore the control of glucose given to different body parts they face death if they don't inject themselves with insulin daily. Since strict monitoring of diabetes is needed for the control of the disease, little room is left for carelessness. As a result diabetic patients are susceptible to many other diseases and serious conditions if a proper course of treatment is not followed. Other diseases a diabetic is open to: Cardiovascular disease, stroke, Peripheral artery disease, gangrene, kidney disease, blindness, hypertension, nerve damage, impotence etc. Basically there is an increased incident of infection in diabetic sufferers. Therefore special care needs to be taken to decrease the chances of getting these other serious diseases. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY What is physical activity? (Bouchard 1988) States that physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles resulting in energy expenditure. Therefore this includes sports and leisure activities of all forms. Why do we need physical activity in our lives? Physical activity and exercise helps tune the "human machine", our bodies. Imagine a car constantly driven only to stop for fuel. It would be a client for all sorts of damage, rusting, oil leaking, dehydration and the chances are most likely it would die in the middle of the road not long after. This is what the body would be like if we didn't exercise at all. We would be and as a result of todays lifestyle many of us are, the perfect target to all kinds of diseases and infections. For those of us who are carrier of some disease or illness we are still encouraged to exercise by our physicians if we have the strength to. This is to help make our organs, muscles, bones and arteries more efficient and better equipped to fight against the disease or illness. This is our way of counter attacking. And if we are still healthy then we reduce the chances of getting an illness or a disease. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND DIABETES (EPIDEMIOLOGY) Recently insulin injections have become available to dependant patients. However in the pre-insulin era physical exercise was one of the few therapies available to physicians in combating diabetes. For an IDDM carrier to benefit from exercise they need to be well aware of their body and the consequences of exercising. If an IDDM