Walking Intervention Helps Patients With Diabetes and PAD

Emma Hitt, PhD

September 06, 2011

September 6, 2011 — A home-based walking intervention improves walking speed and quality of life in people with diabetes and peripheral arterial disease (PAD), according to new research findings.

Tracie C. Collins, MD, MPH, with the Department of Medicine, at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, and colleagues reported their findings online August 26 in Diabetes Care.

According to the researchers, the benefits of supervised walking therapy in PAD have been documented but have limited generalizability because of patient selection, variable methods to measure disease, and the impracticality of hospital-based programs.

The current study sought to evaluate patients with PAD and diabetes participating in a home-based walking program. The primary outcome was a 6-month change in maximal treadmill walking distance vs attention control.

A total of 145 participants, of which 100 were men, and who had diabetes and PAD, were randomly assigned to receive an intervention for 6 months directed towards levels of readiness. The intervention consisted of a 1-on-1 interaction with the research coordinator at baseline. Walking training, weekly group walking classes with an instructor, and biweekly telephone calls for 6 months were also included.

The remaining participants were randomly assigned to a "control" intervention that consisted of twice-monthly telephone calls with the research coordinator. Both groups also watched a 7-minute educational video about PAD.

No significant difference was observed between groups in treadmill walking distance during the course of the 6-month program. However, among secondary outcomes, average walking speed scores increased by 5.7 units for the intervention group but decreased by 1.9 units in the control group (P = .03).

In the intervention group, the mental health quality-of-life subscale score also increased by 3.2 and decreased by 2.4 units in the control group (P = .01).

"These results suggest that home-based walking holds promise for improving walking speed and quality of life in people with DM [diabetes mellitus] and PAD," Dr. Collins and colleagues conclude.

According to the researchers, their study is the "first large-scale walking intervention trial in PAD to use home-based walking versus an attention control." They add that "such a program may improve walking speed and quality of life in this high-risk population."

The study was supported by the American Diabetes Association. The study authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Diabetes Care. Published online August 26, 2011.


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