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Can Stress Affect Blood Sugar Levels

Is Stress The Source Of Your Blood Sugar Swing

Diabetes and stress: how does it affect my blood sugar levels – Ken Tait

Right now, COVID-19 stress can feel like a given and if something causes you stress, it can also trigger an increase if your blood sugar level.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you know that certain foods particularly foods that are high in carbohydrates can send your blood glucose level through the roof. But did you know that theres a long list of other factors, such as too little sleep, illness, even monthly menstrual cycles, that can sabotage your best efforts to stabilize your blood sugar?

High on that list, though you may not be aware of it, is stress.

Whether its related to work, to relationships, or to some other aspect of your life, research has continually shown that emotional stress can cause blood sugar to surge, according to the American Diabetes Association . And because consistent management of blood sugar is the key to living a healthy life with type 2 diabetes, its important to understand how stress affects you and to find healthy ways to cope when mental distress mounts.

Thats especially true right now when the novel coronavirus is top of mind and everyones stress level is sky-high. In addition to heightening health worries, the COVID-19 pandemic comes with immense economic and daily living stressors. Whether youve lost your job, are working from home, helping your kids with e-learning, or quarantined by yourself, its natural to feel stress.

As if stress werent bad enough on its own, it can contribute to irregular blood-sugar levels.

Ways To Combat Stress

Everyone experiences stress from time to time. However, constant stress isnt good for your body, mind, or your type 2 diabetes. Instead of letting stress get the better of you, meet it head-on with some de-stressing techniques, including these:

Stress isnt good for anyone, yet everyone experiences it. Instead of drowning beneath your stress, make an effort to reduce it. Not only will your mind feel freer, but your diabetes will likely be easier to manage.

Keeping Your Blood Sugar Under Control During Anxiety: Raleigh Medical Group Can Help

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Also Check: What Are Some Signs Of Stress

Stress And Glucose Levels

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Were not really sure, but we know both exist today.

Similarly, many people find themselves experiencing both high levels of stress and lower metabolic function.

In short, stress will indirectly cause our glucose levels to rise. Several studies have linked a significant correlation between perceived work-related stress and increased levels of circulating glucose. Chronically high blood glucose levels can cause our body to become resistant to insulin, the hormone that helps our cells use glucose. Insulin is also known to elevate cortisol and epinephrine, hormones associated with the stress response.

In turn, elevated stress can raise glucose levels, putting many in an unpleasant vicious cycle. The stress can push us to overeat, which raises our glucose levels, which leads to us to suffer from notable fatigue and low energy levels. Our response to excessive feelings of fatigue often is you guessed it, becoming more stressed.

So, this vicious cycle leaves us with raised cortisol and glucose levels, and at a lack of focus due to decreased metabolic function. Stress can also impact other metabolic regulating processes such as sleep, further compounding the negative effects were experiencing.

Chronic stress can also impact our bodys ability to utilize its available glucose. In mice, acute psychological stress leads to substantially reduced clearance of glucose after a glucose load and acute insulin resistance.

Food And Medication Timing

Can stress cause high blood sugar levels in non diabetics ...

Are you timing your food and medications properly? Timing medication right is one great way to keep your blood sugars in range.

If you take medications too soon, you may experience hypoglycemia. If you take them too late, you may see a blood sugar spike.

Staying on top of your scheduled medications is a helpful way to ensure your blood sugars are in range.

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Concerned That Stress Is Affecting Your Well

As we saw with GDM, the combination of stress and diabetes can be a negative feedback loop. When your physical and behavioral response to stress helps cause diabetes, which causes more stress, its easy to feel helpless.

Fortunately, it just takes one small shift in gears to make a big change. This is because many of the same habits that can help provide long-term relief from stress also help reduce insulin resistance and increase your overall health.

Exercise is one excellent example. A low-fat, plant-based, whole food diet thats high in whole carbohydrates is another. Losing weight through dietary plans like intermittent fasting is a third.

This is without even adding tactics like getting enough sleep, finding time to relax, spending more time outdoors, and many other strategies that have been proven to help control and reduce stress.

If youre currently struggling with stress and diabetes, you might be able to learn from the Mastering Diabetes Method, which is proven to reverse insulin resistance and improve your physical health in the long term.

With this method and the guidance and support of our coaches, if youd like it, you can work on the physical side of stress, and ensure that your body and brain are as healthy as they can be.

Choose Relaxation To Manage Blood Sugar Levels Effectively

Head to a spa for the weekend, plan your own silent retreat weekend, or make an appointment for a massage.

Studies have shown that getting a massage is a great way to reduce stress and lower the hormones that can cause your blood glucose numbers to rise.

Make sure that you get plenty of exercise too. Youve probably been told how exercise benefits someone with diabetes. Its true.

Getting physical can cause you to lose excess weight, which can make your body become more sensitive to insulin.

It can also help you be able to sleep better at night. It improves your oxygen rate and strengthens your muscles.

But on top of that, exercising gets rid of stress by flooding your body with feel good hormones.

So you feel better physically and emotionally. When you get rid of stress, this allows your body to be able to use the insulin in the right way which will also help you feel better physically and mentally.

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Does Emotional Stress Affect Blood Glucose Levels

Studies are relatively clear on the fact emotional stress raises your blood glucose in the short term.

This happens because elevated emotional stress levels can elicit a biological fight-or-flight response. Then, your body releases cortisol that increases your blood glucose so that you have energy available to survive.

In the case of chronic stress, this process happens again and again, which can be very damaging for both your mental health and your immune system.

How Can Diabetics Relax

Can Prozac affect my blood sugar levels?

Dealing with stress is a part of living in modern society. Youre always going to have things occur that trigger your stress hormones. But the key to preventing insulin issues when stress happens is by controlling the stress response.

There are different avenues that you can take to not only manage the stress, but to change how it affects your glucose levels. Some people focus on using one technique to handle stress while others use a variety of techniques together.

Use whichever stress management coping skills work for you.

Some of the top ways that you can get rid of stress is through relaxation and guarding your thoughts. When you allow your thoughts to dwell on stressful things, your body will react and show signs of stress.

Use relaxation activities to stop stress from having an impact on your insulin needs.

Adopt Ways to Manage Stress & Practice Them Daily. Get 50 ways to control stress.

You can take up adult coloring, journaling or gardening.

Some women have found it helpful when they feel stressed to simply go for a walk. Getting out in the fresh air and walking often works to clear your mind and free your thoughts from stress.

Breathing exercises are also helpful. You can learn how to use deep breathing to inhale and exhale to relieve stress and even to prepare for situations you think might get stressful.

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How Your Body Reacts To Stress

When your body detects the presence of stress and anxiety, it sees it as an attack. As such, the central nervous system prepares your body for the battle. It does this by producing increased amounts of adrenaline and cortisol.

These two hormones have a direct impact on your coronary system. Your heart starts pumping blood and rushing it to different parts of your body. This is to ensure that all your organs have enough energy to fight the symptoms of stress. And there are many possible symptoms, ranging from heartburn to trouble breathing.

If stress is a constant in your life, it can result in a number of chronic illnesses. These include severe insomnia, infertility, and even heart attack. Moreover, stress also affects your blood sugar levels, which can worsen the symptoms of diabetes.

Lack Of Sleep And Its Effect On Blood Sugar Levels

May 15, 2017 by Sound Sleep Health

More than 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with millions more falling into the pre-diabetes range. Keeping blood glucose levels under control is essential to good health, both for people with diabetes and those who do not have the disease. Although most people know that dietary choices and exercise affect blood sugar levels, many do not realize that sleep can also have a dramatic effect on glycemic control. Failing to get enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep can have serious effects on your blood sugar. This is unhealthy for all individuals but particularly dangerous for those with diabetes or prediabetes.

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First What Causes Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes mellitus is classified as a chronic difficulty with hyperglycemia , which can be caused by two different underlying conditions.

In type 1 diabetes, hyperglycemia is caused by an autoimmune condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the beta cells that produce insulin.

Its still not entirely understood what causes type 1 diabetes, and as of the time of publishing this article, there is no known cure.

In type 2 diabetes, high blood glucose is caused by insulin resistance, a condition caused by the accumulation of excess dietary fat in cells that arent designed to store large quantities of fat, which in turn inhibits the action of insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is correlated heavily to lifestyle and diet with some consistent risk factors like:

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • And others

Below, well explore how stress affects your blood glucose, as well as how the side effects of stress , can help lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Turning The Tide On Stress

Does happiness affect diabetes?  GlycoLeap  Medium

The human body is a very dynamic and often forgiving organism. Stress management techniques can be very effective at reducing your glucose levels.

For example, one study of insulin-resistant patients showed that those individuals that engaged in a program of daily 20-minute diaphragmatic breathing exercises showed a reduction in fasting blood glucose and post-meal glucose levels at the ninth week of the study.

In another study in individuals with heart disease, six months of twice-weekly meditation showed a significant decrease in fasting blood sugar, post-meal blood sugar, and hemoglobin a1c.

We can also tweak our eating habits to better optimize our metabolic health. Our dietary choices can significantly affect our glucose levels and risk of developing insulin resistance.

Fortunately, modern technology can help us take a look under the hood and see exactly how certain foods or events impact our individual glucose levels using objective data. Levels helps users discern a relationship between these stress levels and glucose levels and take action to make positive life changes.

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How Does Diabetes Affect A Person

Many people who are diagnosed with diabetes have often had the disease for years before the symptoms become noticeable. Once you have a diagnosis, you need to know that diabetes isnt a disease that can be ignored.

If you dont keep good control of the disease, it will impact your most basic standard of living through complications.

Even those who do practice tight management of their diabetes will still experience an impact but it wont be as harsh.

When you struggle with diabetes, you can fall into the mind trap of thinking that what you do wont really matter, especially if you dont see immediate results.

You may be tempted to just live however you want to live regardless of the consequences. Without making sure your diabetes is under control, it can lead to higher blood sugar levels.

This can make you experience more days of not feeling well. You can develop terrible headaches and may often have to seek medical care for the headaches. You may end up calling out of work.

This can lead to a loss of income. Diabetes can lead to experiences such as becoming physically unable to do the current job that you have.

This can result in you having to drop hours at work or even having to completely stop working.

Its much better to use the Care Touch Kit to regularly monitor your glucose levels and take good care of yourself so that you can enjoy the best quality of life!

What Happens To My Blood Sugar Levels When Im Stressed

During stressful situations, epinephrine , glucagon, growth hormone and cortisol play a role in blood sugar levels. Stressful situations include infections, serious illness or significant emotion stress.

When stressed, the body prepares itself by ensuring that enough sugar or energy is readily available. Insulin levels fall, glucagon and epinephrine levels rise and more glucose is released from the liver. At the same time, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, which causes body tissues to be less sensitive to insulin. As a result, more glucose is available in the blood stream.

When you have type 2 diabetes, low blood sugars from too much medication or insulin are a common cause of stress. The hormonal response to a low blood sugar includes a rapid release of epinephrine and glucagon, followed by a slower release of cortisol and growth hormone. These hormonal responses to the low blood sugar may last for 6-8 hours during that time the blood sugar may be difficult to control. The phenomena of a low blood sugar followed by a high blood sugar is called a rebound or Somogyi reaction.

When you have type 2 diabetes, stress may make your blood sugar go up and become more difficult to control and you may need to take higher doses of your diabetes medications or insulin.

During times of stress, individuals with diabetes, may have more difficulty controlling their blood sugars.

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Fill Your Doctor In On Big Life Changes

If a stressful situation is causing your blood sugar to swing, your healthcare team needs to know. Says Campbell, Your doctor may temporarily change your diabetes medication or put you on a higher dose. If necessary, he or she can even make a referral to a mental health professional. Right now, increasingly more primary care physicians, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals are offering telehealth services so that you can get the help you need while maintaining social distancing practices.

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People With Sleep Apnea Are Particularly At Risk For Blood Sugar Problems

Can Stress create High Blood Sugar Levels

There appears to be a bidirectional relationship between sleep apnea and diabetes: people with diabetes are more likely to develop sleep apnea, and those who have poor quality sleep because of sleep apnea may experience problems with glycemic control that elevate their risk for type 2 diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than half of people with type 2 diabetes have some form of sleep disturbance, with having obstructive sleep apnea. Additionally, up to 40% of people with sleep apnea have or will develop diabetes.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your airway periodically becomes restricted during the night, cutting off your supply of oxygen. These frequent disruptions to your nighttime sleep may leave you feeling exhausted in the morning. Sleep apnea also disrupts your metabolic pathways, making you more vulnerable to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Even for individuals without diabetes, sleep apnea can lead to poor blood glucose control that may easily push you into the pre-diabetes range. Scientists do not yet understand why sleep apnea affects blood sugar levels so strongly, but research in this area is ongoing.

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How The Body Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Glucose, a typeof sugar, is the bodys primary energy source. Cells throughout your body depend on glucose to continue operating. When you eat a meal, your stomach breaks carbohydrates down into glucose molecules. This glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it circulates throughout your body.

The body prefers for blood sugar levels to be kept within a tight range. To achieve this, a hormone called insulin is released by the pancreas into the bloodstream. Insulin tells your bodys cells to increase their uptake of glucose from the blood, resulting in lower blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels dip too low such as after an intense bout of exercise another hormone signals the liver to release its excess glucose stores to restore balance.

People with diabetes have a difficult time responding properly to insulin. Those with type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin, making them unable to keep their glucose levels under control. Individuals with type 2 diabetes gradually become insensitive to insulin over time, making it difficult to their bodies to respond appropriately to elevated blood glucose. Impaired insulin sensitivity can result from dietary factors, such as high consumption of simple carbohydrates and fat. However, lack of sleep and blood sugar levels are also linked, particularly for those with type 2 diabetes.

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