Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Can Stress Affect Blood Sugar

Ways To Reduce Mental Stress3

Can anxiety cause a rise in blood sugar?
  • Learn how to relax during stressful moments by using deep-breathing exercises.
  • Evaluate your schedule to find how to make changes to relieve stress.
  • Exercise regularly and take regular outdoor walks to experience nature, which generally has a soothing effect on the body and soul.

It is important to understand what stress is and how it effects your body. By identfiying and actively finding healthy ways to overcome your stress triggers, you can help to improve your diabetes management.

References1. Glucerna.How Stress Affects Blood Sugar Levels 2020. Abbott Laboratories. Available at: https://glucerna.com/why-glucerna/how-stress-affects-blood-sugar-levels..2. Diabetes UK. Stress And Blood Glucose-Levels.2019. Diabetes Digital Media. Available at: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/stress-and-blood-glucose-levels.html .3. Mind Organisation. Stress. 1st ed. London: Mind publications, p.1-15. 2017. Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/2959/stress-2017.pdf .

How Stress Affects The Body

When the body is under stress, it releases cortisol. Cortisol is synthesized from cholesterol and then released from the adrenal glands. The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is a unit in the brain comprised of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands, is what regulates the production of cortisol and how much of it is released during periods of physical and emotional stress.

When the body sends signals of stressboth emotional and physicalit releases cortisol to help the body respond to a perceived threat, control blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. It is the hormone that is used for the fight-or-flight response so if there is any immediate danger, the body will be ready to face it or run from it.

Cortisol can also encourage the liver to release glucose and fatty acids to help give the body the energy it needs to deal with stress. From an evolutionary standpoint, the release of cortisol to deal with stress was important for survival. However, times have changed and those types of threats to life are now, for the most part, nonexistent. This means that cortisol is released and not used by the body in ways that it’s meant to be used in some situations.

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.

Recommended Reading: How Do I Manage Stress And Anxiety

How Stress Affects Blood Sugar

Research studies have connected many different physical conditions to having too much stress. Things like chronic fatigue syndrome and obesity have been linked to increased stress levels. It turns out that stress has an impact on blood sugar levels, which has great implications for those suffering from diabetes.

People under increased levels of stress are suffering from a heightened fight or flight response. This causes the adrenal glands to put out norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol when exposed to the stressor. The stomach knots up, the respiratory rate is faster, and the heart rate is faster. The cortisol released by the adrenal cortex causes elevated blood sugar levels in an attempt to provide cellular fuel if the body actually needs to go into fighting or fleeing.

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, it means that your bodys cells are insulin resistant. The rise in glucose that comes from stress and cortisol release isnt managed well and the blood sugar has no place to go. It means that the blood sugar levels will be too high.

Practice Mindfulness To Promote A Feeling Of Calm


Whether you choose deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga, mindfulness techniques are designed to help you reduce stress.

A short-term randomized controlled trial of 60 people with type 2 diabetes found that those who used mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques saw improved fasting blood sugar and A1C and lower levels of anxiety and depression. Researchers published those results in 2018 in the Journal of Diabetes Research.

Explore a variety of relaxation techniques, Belfort De Aguiar suggests, to find one that works for you. If you have trouble winding down, apps such as Headspace and Calm are popular, budget-friendly options for learning how to practice mindfulness.

RELATED: How Diabetes and Anxiety Are Connected

Read Also: How Do You Lose Stress Weight

If Your Blood Sugar Is High

You should talk to your cancer doctor, diabetes team or your GP as soon as possible if:

  • your blood sugar levels are high on more than 2 or 3 occasions
  • you feel unwell or develop any of the symptoms of diabetes, such as being really thirsty, having blurred vision, passing a lot of urine or feeling very tired.

If your blood sugar level stays high while you are taking steroids, your cancer doctor or specialist nurse may change the dose. They may also change the time you take the steroids. They may spread the dose out during the day.

Read Also: How To Use Diabetic Test Strips

Seek Support In Reducing Stress

Living with type 2 diabetes can be intrinsically stressful. Called diabetes burnout, overwhelm and fatigue caused by blood sugar testing, carb-counting, insulin administration, doctor visits, and other facets of diabetes management can negatively affect both physical and emotional health, according to the ADA.

Take advantage of your support circle. A family member, friend, or other source of support who will listen to you can make a big difference in the way you manage stress, Campbell says, adding, You can also talk to a counselor or join an online support community. The ADA recommends diabetes support groups as a way to connect with people who understand what youre going through and to share management and coping advice. Check out The ADA Mental Health Provider Referral Directory to find nearby groups that, when the pandemic is over, you can join in person.

RELATED: How Diabetes Support Groups Can Change Your Life

You May Like: Why Does Hair Fall Out When Stressed

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.

Summary: How Stress Affects Your Blood Sugar

Why does stress increase blood sugars

In short, stress will generally cause your blood sugar to rise. It will also be difficult to bring it down because of the insulin resistance created by stress hormones and the production of glucose from your livers response to adrenaline.

The larger majority of stressful situations arent something we can easily predict, but once youre experiencing stress, you can predict that your blood sugar might spike.

Remembering to check your blood sugar during and after stressful situations is an important part of diabetes management, but dont add to your stress by expecting to be able to easily correct any high blood sugars during a stressful state.

You May Like: How Does Exercise Help With Stress

Food And Medication Timing

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.

You May Like: Can Stress Cause Cluster Headaches

What Are The Links Between Stress And Diabetes

Many people are already familiar with the relationship between stress and diabetes. However, only a few understand how stress and blood sugar levels are related.

Stress is anything that triggers physiological and psychological responses from our body system. All of the stressors mentioned above can have a devastating effect on our psyche.

Our endocrine activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis alongside the central nervous system when we experience stress. HPA triggers abnormal hormone releases. These include high cortisol, epinephrine, and glucagon levels. All these hormones suppress the effect of insulin. A drop in insulin level, in turn, results in more glucose in your blood. During this critical moment, your body will try to adjust. By then, you might experience abnormal cravings for junk food and alcohol. If you have diabetes, your body will struggle to control these hormones. This, in turn, leads to a rise in your blood sugar level.

You May Like: Can Stress Cause Memory Loss

How To Manage Your Stress Levels

Some forms of stress cannot be managed, especially if they are not frequent in nature such as a one-time traumatic event or an accidental injury. Other types of stress, such as taking care of family, work stressors, or any other day-to-day stressful situations, will likely be there permanently or semipermanently. These types of stressful events are the ones that need to be managed as best you can.

To do this, you can proactively plan ahead. This means being prepared for the regular stressors of life and managing your time, reading self-help books, or minimizing the source of stress as much as possible. Calming exercises such as yoga and meditation have also been proven to reduce stress levels. You will also want to avoid indulging in unhealthy behaviors such as overeating. It may seem comforting at the time, but it will not help to relieve the stress you are experiencing.

Setting realistic and manageable goals is also a big stress reducer for those with diabetes. Instead of focusing on a large and vague goal such as losing weight, setting a goal of walking for at least a half-hour every day on specific days of the week will be much more achievable.

Low Potassium From Prednisone

In diabetes, stress can raise your blood sugar make ways ...

Another lab value changed by prednisone is Potassium. Prednisone causes low potassium, also known as hypokalemia.

Because the sodium is going up, prednisone causes your potassium to go down and potassium is really important all over your whole body, from the heart, to inside cells, to muscle contractions. The normal range of potassium in your blood is 3.5 to 5.

You can see my normal is hovering around 4.0 before I took prednisone. And after I took prednisone, it was up in the fours, but right there in November 2017, while I was in the highest doses of prednisone, thats when the potassium levels were the lowest.

So we need potassium-containing foods while on prednisone. .

How Sodium & Potassium Link Leads to Survival

Sodium and potassium are linked. So whenever sodium goes up, potassium goes down. At least thats whats supposed to happen with our kidneys monitoring each of them, causing the potassium drops.

This makes sense because our bodies normally produce cortisol from the adrenal gland, which is right on top of the kidneys . Prednisone is replacing our bodys normal secretion of cortisol. Cortisol normally directly affects the kidneys, causing high sodium and low potassium.

Dont Miss: Can You Test Blood Sugar Without Drawing Blood

Don’t Miss: What Foods Help With Stress

Diabetes & Stress: How Stress Affects Your Blood Sugar

Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. And stress can have a drastic effect on your blood sugar both immediately and in the long run.

Even the fun stress of a roller coaster ride triggers an increased production of hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon. Without these hormones, your body couldnt complete the task of grocery shopping, let alone endure a heated argument with your mother.

In this article, well look at the role of cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon, and how each of these stress-related hormones can affect your blood sugar.

At the end of the post, we will summarize how all of this comes together to impact the day-to-day lives of people living with diabetes, and what you can do to reduce stress in your daily life.

  • Reducing ongoing stress
  • How Can Stress Affect Diabetes

    At the dawn of time, our ancestors lived in a world of danger. When they were attacked by cave bears, it was a bad idea to stay calm. So whenever they saw danger, their brains sounded a stress alarm that put their bodies into action.

    This ability to feel stress got passed down to us in the modern age. The problem is that our brains cant tell the difference between physical danger and social or emotional danger, so they all stress us out in the same way. So today, although bear attacks are less common, stress is a much larger part of our lives. In 2018, a Gallup poll found that 55% of Americans felt stress during a lot of the day, while 45% said they felt worried a lot when asked about how they felt the previous day

    Stress can still be helpful when it helps us take on challenges, provided that we get some rest afterward. But when stress lasts for a long time, without giving us a chance to rest, it can do serious damage to our bodies. It can increase our risk for diabetes, or make our current diabetes worse.

    You May Like: Why Does Stress Cause Hair Loss

    Stress Affects The Immune System

    Chronic stress may also affect the immune system.

    In one study, researchers noticed that a particular immune system response to chronic stress is a similar response to one that is involved in the development of type 2 diabetes.

    To determine if stressful events are causing an increase in blood sugar, people can measure their blood glucose throughout the day. They should note how they are feeling and when they last ate.

    People can then show their readings to their doctor for analysis.

    If the doctor notices that stress may be affecting blood sugar, they can explore different techniques to help a person control their stress levels.

    The American Diabetes Association recommend that people with diabetes take care of their mind just as much as they do their body.

    Stress can be both a contributor to diabetes and a consequence of it. However, there are many effective ways to relieve stress.

    The strategy that works best for one person may be different for the next person. Exploring different options can help a person find the strategy that works best for them.

    A 2018 study that took place in a clinic in Iran found that taking part in social-related stress management training could improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Stress management techniques may help people manage their glycated hemoglobin levels.

    How Can I Reduce Stress In My Life

    Session 30. Physical or Emotional Stress and High Blood Sugars.- Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes University

    There are many things you can do to reduce stress. The following are some suggestions:

    • Take your medications as directed and eat healthy meals.
    • Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
    • Get some exercise. You can reduce stress though activities such as dancing, walking, or biking. Do something that you enjoy.
    • Remember to keep your sense of humor. Laughing helps to reduce stress.
    • Join a support group. You can meet people with problems similar to yours and make new friends.
    • Seek out professional help in order to talk about what’s troubling you.

    There are additional strategies that you can use to help reduce stress in your life. Talk to your diabetes educator or doctor for more ideas.

    You May Like: What Is The Best Stress Reliever

    How Much Does Your Stress Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

    Your bodys response to stress will be to raise blood sugar levels in proportion to the amount of stress felt, and your own biology.

    Because of the long-lasting cortisol levels, your body could have a longer time of higher blood sugar levels.

    The stress hormones released also have an effect on your muscle and fat cells that cause them to become more insulin resistant, so that the blood sugar levels stay elevated.

    Interestingly, low blood sugar is itself a physical stressor, so it is possible to have a high blood sugar rebound caused by your low blood sugar levels. This is called a Somogyi reaction. Your blood sugar can be difficult to control in this type of rebound state.

    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.

    Don’t Miss: Can Stress Make You Vomit

    - Advertisement - spot_img
    Popular Articles
    Related news