Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Large Pre- and Postexercise Rapid-Acting Insulin Reductions Preserve Glycemia and Prevent Early- but Not Late-Onset Hypoglycemia in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes

Campbell, Matthew, Walker, M., Trenell, M. I., Jakovljevic, D. G., Stevenson, E. J., Bracken, R. M., Bain, S. C. and West, D. J. (2013) Large Pre- and Postexercise Rapid-Acting Insulin Reductions Preserve Glycemia and Prevent Early- but Not Late-Onset Hypoglycemia in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 36 (8). pp. 2217-2224. ISSN 0149-5992

Item Type: Article


OBJECTIVE To examine the acute and 24-h glycemic responses to reductions in postexercise rapid-acting insulin dose in type 1 diabetic patients.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS After preliminary testing, 11 male patients (24 ± 2 years, HbA1c 7.7 ± 0.3%; 61 ± 3.4 mmol/mol) attended the laboratory on three mornings. Patients consumed a standardized breakfast (1 g carbohydrate ⋅ kg−1 BM; 380 ± 10 kcal) and self-administered a 25% rapid-acting insulin dose 60 min prior to performing 45 min of treadmill running at 72.5 ± 0.9% VO2peak. At 60 min postexercise, patients ingested a meal (1 g carbohydrate ⋅ kg−1 BM; 660 ± 21 kcal) and administered a Full, 75%, or 50% rapid-acting insulin dose. Blood glucose concentrations were measured for 3 h postmeal. Interstitial glucose was recorded for 20 h after leaving the laboratory using a continuous glucose monitoring system.

RESULTS All glycemic responses were similar across conditions up to 60 min postexercise. After the postexercise meal, blood glucose was preserved under 50%, but declined under Full and 75%. Thence at 3 h, blood glucose was highest under 50% (50% [10.4 ± 1.2] vs. Full [6.2 ± 0.7] and 75% [7.6 ± 1.2 mmol ⋅ L−1], P = 0.029); throughout this period, all patients were protected against hypoglycemia under 50% (blood glucose ≤3.9; Full, n = 5; 75%, n = 2; 50%, n = 0). Fifty percent continued to protect patients against hypoglycemia for a further 4 h under free-living conditions. However, late-evening and nocturnal glycemia were similar; as a consequence, late-onset hypoglycemia was experienced under all conditions.

CONCLUSIONS A 25% pre-exercise and 50% postexercise rapid-acting insulin dose preserves glycemia and protects patients against early-onset hypoglycemia (≤8 h). However, this strategy does not protect against late-onset postexercise hypoglycemia.

Patients with type 1 diabetes are encouraged to engage in regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle (1,2). However, engaging in exercise is not without its difficulties (1). Defective glucose regulation presents a significant challenge in preventing hypoglycemia during, and particularly after, exercise (3,4). Exercise-induced hypoglycemia is both a frequent (5) and dangerous occurrence (6) and remains a major obstacle to patients who wish to engage in exercise (7).

Much of the literature has focused on providing strategies to help combat hypoglycemia during, and early after, exercise (8–17), with investigations focusing on altering exercise modality (14,18), carbohydrate consumption (12,16,17), and reductions to pre-exercise, rapid-acting insulin dose (10–12,17,19). Prior to moderate-intensity, continuous, aerobic exercise, it is recommended that patients should reduce their prandial rapid-acting insulin dose by ∼75% to prevent hypoglycemia during exercise (10–12). However, despite best preserving blood glucose, it has been shown that this strategy is not fully protective against postexercise hypoglycemia (11,12). This has, in part, been attributed to iatrogenic causes (11), whereby patients administer their usual doses of rapid-acting insulin in a heightened insulin-sensitive state, potentially leading to unexpected falls in blood glucose and, consequently, hypoglycemia (11).

A potential strategy to help minimize the risk of developing hypoglycemia after exercise could be to reduce the dose of rapid-acting insulin administered with the postexercise meal (20). Exercise increases the sensitivity of the body to insulin for many hours after exercise (3) and patients could be faced with a window of particularly high sensitivity around the postexercise meal, whereby greater rates of glucose uptake could occur to supplement the high metabolic priority of replenishing muscle glycogen (21). Thus, the meal consumed after exercise is important. With this in mind, it would be intuitive to reduce the amount of insulin administered with the meal consumed at this time; this may preserve glycemia and prevent postexercise hypoglycemia. Conversely, severe reductions in rapid-acting insulin dose may incur prolonged postexercise hyperglycemia, even more so if the pre-exercise dose is also reduced. However, there is a lack of data to confirm or refute these hypotheses. In addition, it would be prudent to examine the extent to which rapid-acting insulin dose adjustments may help combat late falls in glycemia after exercise, considering type 1 diabetic patients are susceptible to late-onset, postexercise hypoglycemia (3), suggested to be due to a biphasic response in glucose uptake occurring early and also late after exercise (22). Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the acute and 24-h postexercise glycemic responses to reducing the postexercise rapid-acting insulin dose, when using the recommended pre-exercise insulin reductions, in type 1 diabetic patients.

Full text not available from this repository.

More Information

Depositing User: Leah Maughan


Item ID: 13032
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0149-5992
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Matthew Campbell: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 15:29
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2021 15:29


Author: Matthew Campbell ORCID iD
Author: M. Walker
Author: M. I. Trenell
Author: D. G. Jakovljevic
Author: E. J. Stevenson
Author: R. M. Bracken
Author: S. C. Bain
Author: D. J. West

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item