A physical balance training program was found to decrease the risk of falling among patients with type 2 diabetes, according to results of a nonrandomized, controlled trial published in BMC Endocrine Disorders.

Patients (n=37) with type 2 diabetes were recruited in January 2020 at the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland. The program used the Biodex Balance System to train patients for proprioception, balance, and motor coordination daily over 3 months. Patients were assessed by the General Stability Index (GSI), the Frontal-Posterior Stability Index (FPI), and the Medial-Lateral Stability Index (MLI) and were evaluated for fall risk. Results were compared with control group participants who did not have type 2 diabetes (n=41) and who had undergone at least 6 weeks of nonoperative distal radius fracture treatment.

The diabetes patient and control group cohorts comprised 19 and 24 women with a mean age of 73.22 and 74.10 years and with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 29.54 and 26.88 (P =.001), respectively. For those with diabetes, the average time since diagnosis was 9.3±2.45 years.


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At baseline, the diabetes patient cohort scored significantly higher for GSI (median, 2.7 vs 1.0; P <.001), FPI (median, 1.5 vs 0.7; P <.001), and MLI (median, 0.8 vs 0.5; P <.001) assessments performed while participants had their eyes open compared with the control group.

At the conclusion of the study, significant decreases from baseline were observed among the intervention cohort for GSI (median, 2.7 vs 1.2; P <.001), FPI (median, 1.5 vs 0.7; P <.001), and MLI (median, 0.8 vs 0.5; P <.001). After the balance training, the diabetes patient cohort had equivalent scores as control group participants at baseline for FPI (median, 0.7) and MLI (median, 0.5).

With eyes closed, at baseline the diabetes patient cohort scored significantly higher for GSI (median, 4.5 vs 2.3; P <.001), FPI (median, 3 vs 1.1; P <.001), and MLI (median, 1.1 vs 0.5; P <.001) compared with the control group.

At the conclusion of the study, significant decreases from baseline were observed among the intervention cohort for GSI (median, 4.5 vs 3.1; P <.001), FPI (median, 3 vs 2; P <.001), and MLI (median, 1.1 vs 0.7; P <.001) with eyes closed.

Median fall risk performance at baseline was 2.8 among control group participants and 5 among the diabetes patient group (P <.001). After the training intervention, the risk decreased to 3.7 (P <.001).

This study was limited by its small sample size and single center design.

These data indicated that daily balance and motor coordination training improved balance and decreased risk for falling among patients with type 2 diabetes.

Reference

Stolarczyk A, Jarzemski I, Maciąg BM, Radzimowski K, Świercz M, Stolarczyk M. Balance and motion coordination parameters can be improved in patients with type 2 diabetes with physical balance training: non-randomized controlled trial. BMC Endocr Disord. 2021;21(1):143. doi:10.1186/s12902-021-00804-8