BACKGROUND: To explore the impact of glycaemic control (HbA1c) on functional capacity during cardio-pulmonary exercise testing in people with type 1 diabetes.
METHODS: Sixty-four individuals with type 1 diabetes (age: 34 ± 8 years; 13 females, HbA1c: 7.8 ± 1% (62 ± 13 mmol/mol), duration of diabetes: 17 ± 9 years) performed a cardio-pulmonary cycle ergometer exercise test until volitional exhaustion. Stepwise linear regression was used to explore relationships between HbA1c and cardio-respiratory data with p ≤ 0.05. Furthermore, participants were divided into quartiles based on HbA1c levels and cardio-respiratory data were analysed by one-way ANOVA. Multiple regression analysis was performed to explore the relationships between changes in time to exhaustion and cardio-respiratory data. Data were adjusted for confounder.
RESULTS: HbA1c was related to time to exhaustion and oxygen consumption at the power output elicited at the sub-maximal threshold of the heart rate turn point (r = 0.47, R2 = 0.22, p = 0.03). Significant differences were found at time to exhaustion between QI vs. QIV and at oxygen consumption at the power output elicited at the heart rate turn point between QI vs. QII and QI vs. QIV (p < 0.05). Changes in oxygen uptake, power output and in oxygen consumption at the power output elicited at the heart rate turn point and at maximum power output explained 55% of the variance in time to exhaustion (r = 0.74, R2 = 0.55, p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Poor glycaemic control is related to less economical use of oxygen at sub-maximal work rates and an earlier time to exhaustion during cardio-pulmonary exercise testing. However, exercise training could have the same potential to counteract the influence of poor glycaemic control on functional capacity. Trial registration NCT01704417. Date of registration: October 11, 2012.