The Link between Stress and Diabetes

Stress, both physical and psychological, can send your blood sugar out of whack. If you have diabetes, attempt these pointers to keep stress under control.

What is The Link between Stress and Diabetes?

It’s hard to dispute that the majority of us live life at breakneck speed. It’s the nature of a fast-paced society, where various household, social, and work commitments can quickly overpower your precious time and resources. But for individuals with diabetes, both physical and emotional stress can take a greater toll on health.

When you’re stressed out, your blood glucose levels increase. Stress hormonal agents like epinephrine and cortisol start since among their significant functions is to raise blood sugar to assist increase energy when it’s needed most. Consider the fight-or-flight response. You can’t combat danger when your blood sugar level is low, so it increases to assist meet the challenge. Both physical and emotional stress can trigger a boost in these hormonal agents, resulting in a boost in blood glucose.

Also read: Hormones Affecting Blood Glucose Levels

People who aren’t diabetic have compensatory mechanisms to keep blood glucose from swinging out of control. However in people with diabetes, those mechanisms are either lacking or blunted, so they can’t keep a lid on blood sugar, states David Sledge, MD, medical director of diabetes management at The Ochsner Clinic Foundation in Baton Rouge, La. When blood glucose levels aren’t managed well through diet and/or medication, you’re at higher risk for lots of health complications, including loss of sight, kidney issues, and nerve damage causing foot numbness, which can result in major injury and hard-to-heal infections. Prolonged raised blood sugar level is likewise a predecessor to cardiovascular disease, which increase the risk of cardiac arrest and strokes.

“In diabetes, because of either an absolute lack of insulin, such as type 1 diabetes, or a relative lack of insulin, such as type 2, there isn’t sufficient insulin to handle these hormones, so blood sugar levels rise,” says Richard Surwit, PhD, vice chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center and author of The Mind Body Diabetes Revolution.

Anything disturbing like going through a breakup or being laid off is definitely emotionally draining pipes. Being down with the flu or struggling with a urinary tract infection locations physical stress on the body. It’s typically these longer-term stressors that tax your system and have a lot more impact on blood sugar levels.

The issue may be compounded due to the fact that under these pressures, you may lose your hunger and skimp on eating, or reach for not-so healthy fast repairs like candy or chips. Some individuals in fact “stress eat” (overeat during stressful durations). Others skip their daily workout since they’re too stretched or diminish to keep it up, which can produce a vicious circle since workout is an outstanding way to lower blood glucose.

Also read: Diabetes and Depression


“The most crucial thing is to discover what it feels like when stress hormones are elevated,” Sledge tells us. For some diabetic individuals, extended health problem or distress will keep their blood sugar levels up for prolonged periods of time. Typically insulin will be required or adjusted during this duration, so acknowledging durations of stress is vital for individuals with diabetes.

Since stress has practically become a way of living, you might not even discover you’re tired. A great deal of individuals will identify stressors such as a health problem in the family (something big) but may not recognize the stress of the vacations or a chaotic time at work (something smaller sized or shorter in duration). Being in tune to your stress level and how you feel when the going gets tense is important. One excellent gauge is making a note of your stress level in a journal each time you inspect your blood glucose. Many glucose meters have the capability to go into individual notes and information when you perform checks, or jot it down in a stress journal. “Once you begin taping stress levels, the majority of people with diabetes figure out quite rapidly what makes their blood glucose increase,” says Surwit.

Learn how to De-stress

“Stress plays a more direct function in the control of blood glucose than it does in other disease,” Surwit tells us. People with diabetes must remain conscious of consuming well and exercising regularly. It’s a good idea to check blood glucose levels more often when you’re ill or under stress and to drink a lot of fluids as so as not to get dehydrated.

“A lot of patients can quickly inform if their sugar is up by the way they feel or how much pressure they’re presently under,” says Paula Butler, chief of endocrinology and head of the diabetes program at Mt. Sinai healthcare facility in Chicago. Butler often hears patients explain why their blood sugar is high when they come in for a visit — everything from a battle with a spouse to missing the bus that early morning is fodder for an increase in the numbers.

When you’ve pinpointed your stressors and notice which ones send your blood glucose levels soaring, you’ll have to create some ways to relax. What assists keep stress under covers? Anything that relaxes you.

  • Take up yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.
  • Attempt progressive relaxation therapy, in which you practice tensing and unwinding major muscle groups in sequence. A research study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that simply five weekly sessions of a relaxation therapy can lower blood sugar levels significantly.
  • Find out cognitive behavior therapy. In addition to discovering how to unwind, this therapy assists you re-evaluate what deserves your aggravation in the first place by helping you change your habits and teaching you to view life through more appropriately colored glasses, states Surwit.
  • Talk to a therapist. Speaking about your issues is a dependable way to minimize the stress that originates from them.
  • Step back from the circumstance. If you can, eliminate yourself from the stress factor, says Butler.
  • Keep up your healthy eating and exercise routine. Exercise can assist lower blood sugar level, so a stressful stage is not the time to pass up the stair stepper.
  • Eliminate caffeine. Caffeine can hinder your body’s ability to handle sugar and increase the amount of stress hormones, which might increase blood sugar level, says Surwit.
  • Ask your doctor about an antianxiety medication. It isn’t really perfect, but it can help during a crisis, states Butler.
  • Use up a relaxing pastime. If knitting or pottery relaxes you down, join a class or discover a workshop. But if you stress over every imperfection in your task, conserve the pastime for a less stressed-out time, and take a hot bath rather.

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