Keep A Close Eye On Your Blood Sugar Levels
Its always important to keep tabs on your stress and blood sugar. Thats why we recommend a fasting blood sugar test at every yearly physical.If your blood sugar starts to creep upwards, we can be proactive and start measures to help you.
This is particularly important if you have diabetes or prediabetes. In fact, if you have these conditions, we may suggest that you have blood sugar screenings more often. We can guide you through when you should check your blood sugar, and our dietitian can help you select healthy meals.
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.
Depression: More Than Just A Bad Mood
Depression is a medical illness that causes feelings of sadness and often a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. It can get in the way of how well you function at work and home, including taking care of your diabetes. When you arent able to manage your diabetes well, your risk goes up for diabetes complications like heart disease and nerve damage.
People with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes. Only 25% to 50% of people with diabetes who have depression get diagnosed and treated. But treatmenttherapy, medicine, or bothis usually very effective. And without treatment, depression often gets worse, not better.
Symptoms of depression can be mild to severe, and include:
- Feeling sad or empty
- Losing interest in favorite activities
- Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
- Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
- Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling very tired
- Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
- Having aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- Having thoughts of suicide or death
If you think you might have depression, get in touch with your doctor right away for help getting treatment. The earlier depression is treated, the better for you, your quality of life, and your diabetes.
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If You Develop A Complication Of Diabetes
Developing a complication of diabetes may result in significant readjustments in your life. If it makes you less mobile, you may feel you have become more dependent on others, or you might need to shift house or jobs. If your vision is more limited, you may need to concentrate harder on achieving tasks that were previously easy. Depending on what impact the complication has on your life, you may feel a great deal of grief associated with the loss of full health.
Having diabetes is stressful. It can also mean that it is more of a challenge for us to manage other life stresses. As you become more experienced with diabetes it tends to assume a less intrusive place in your life. As you achieve a comfortable balance between caring for yourself and also having fun and enjoying your life, your stress management strategies can become more effective.
Diabetes And Healthy Eating
If you have diabetes its important to include a wide variety of nutritious and healthy foods in your diet, and to avoid snacking on sugary foods.
Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group be sure to include foods high in fibre and low in fat and reduce your salt intake. Its helpful to consult with a dietitian to review your current eating plan and provide a guide about food choices and food quantities.
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Can Stress Cause Diabetes
Stress is likely to affect those with type 2 diabetes, which is a common type of diabetes. In this type, the body cannot produce insulin normally and the effect is bad enough. During stressful conditions, your blood glucose or blood sugar levels increase quickly. Hormones such as glucagon and adrenaline take effect to anticipate the need for energy when needed, but insulin levels drop. Stress prevents the body from emitting insulin. Therefore, if you feel frightened or worried about something, then your heart will palpitate faster or you may get shaky. It is a normal reaction as it is a sign that adrenaline is rushing into the bloodstream. Further, the liver releases more glucose followed by the rise of cortisol and growth hormone, making fat and muscle less responsive to insulin.
The body needs insulin to use glucose for more energy. After you have consumed foods, glucose from sugars and starches is applied to be energy for daily activity. When insulin drops because of stress, it means more glucose accumulates in the bloodstream rather than into the cells. This means your glucose levels will raise significantly.
Exercise To Lower Stress
The benefits of exercise in reducing stress are well known. Exercise gives you a feeling of well-being and may relieve symptoms of stress. Think about what kinds of exercise help you relieve stress. You can blow off steam with hard exercise, recharge on a hike, or do a relaxing mind-body activity like yoga or tai chi. You’ll feel better. Exercise doesn’t just help you fight stress. It can lower your blood pressure and help you lose any extra pounds. Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise program. Ask what type of exercise might be best for you.
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Diabetes And Mental Health
Is mental health pretty low on your list of priorities for managing diabetes? This may change your mind.Mental health affects so many aspects of daily lifehow you think and feel, handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. You can see how having a mental health problem could make it harder to stick to your diabetes care plan.
Cholesterol And Triglyceride Tests
Have a cholesterol and triglyceride test at least once a year. Aim for total cholesterol less than 4.0 mmol/L and triglycerides less than 2.0 mmol/L.
There are a number of causes of high cholesterol, including your family history and your diet. Too much saturated fat in your diet can increase the LDL cholesterol in your blood and result in the build-up of plaque in your blood vessels.
Foods high in saturated fats include full-fat dairy products, fatty meats, pastries, biscuits, cakes, coconut cream or coconut milk, palm oil and fatty take-away foods.
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Taking Care Of Yourself When Stressed
When were stressed, we typically dont take good care of ourselves.
Theres a reason they call it comfort food. For most people, chocolate or fast food seems to be the first thing they reach for when were stressed.
Stress also makes it tempting to put off your regular exercise routine in favor of the couch and a Netflix binge.
These can all become deciding factors in a spike in blood sugar.
Need a solution? Get moving when youre stressed. Dont feel like you have to complete an extensive cardio routine. Often something as simple as a walk around the block can make a difference in your mood.
Mental Health And Diabetes
Living with and managing either type 1 or type 2 diabetes can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. This can affect your blood glucose levels and how you manage your diabetes in general. Over time, this can affect your health.It is important to talk to your doctor if you are going through times of stress, depression or anxiety. Your doctor can refer you to a counsellor or psychologist by providing a diabetes mental health plan. This is Medicare rebated.Other help is available, including:
- online resources
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Effects Of Position In The Social Status Hierarchy
It is well established that living in poor economic circumstances affects people’s health, but it is only within the past few decades that we have come to recognize that there is a social gradient in health such that even middle-class people have more diseases and shorter life expectancies than do people just a step higher in the social hierarchy . is the most studied measure of social position in developed countries, it is typically measured as education, income, and/or occupational prestige.
It has been shown that the prevalence of health-adverse behaviors increases with decreasing social position , and it has also been shown that the latter is associated with increasing exposure to stressors such as poor social circumstances and psychological challenges . For example, Canadian data have shown that self-reported chronic stressors ranging from marital issues to neighborhood, job, financial, and life stressors were all more common as income decreased . Monden and colleagues have also demonstrated that people with lower education reported significantly more stressful work factors .
It has repeatedly been demonstrated in cross-sectional studies that T2D rates increase with decreasing socioeconomic position but it has also been argued, without clear evidence, that having T2D affects a person’s ability to maintain a high social standing. There is a need for longitudinal studies demonstrating that having T2D changes a person’s SES to support this view.
Recharge Your Batteries By Getting A Good Nights Sleep
Plenty of research shows that lack of adequate sleep can lead to emotional strain for example, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that sleep deprivation is a contributing factor to anxiety disorders. Whats more, poor sleep may cause blood sugar levels to swing: In a large study published in Diabetes Care, people with type 2 diabetes who slept less than 4.5 hours per night had higher blood sugar levels than those who slept 6.5 to just over 7 hours a night. Sleeping too much was also associated with higher blood sugar. Getting enough sleep can help your diabetes management, Campbell says. If youre not sleeping well at night, discuss the matter with your doctor.
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How To Deal With Stress As A Person With Diabetes
In general, theres only so much you can do to prevent the blood sugar spikes from different types of stress hormones because we cant always predict stress.
However, if youre dealing with predictable stress or ongoing stress, definitely talk to your healthcare team about an adjustment in your insulin doses that can help tamper those stubborn high blood sugars.
For those unexpected bursts of stress and rapid spikes in your blood sugar:
You should use your established correction factor to determine an appropriate dose of insulin to bring the blood sugar down.
But keep in mind: its very likely your blood sugar will sit at that higher level until your body has recovered from the stressful state. When those stress hormones are pumping and adrenaline is causing your liver to produce more glucose, it can be very difficult to get ahead of it.
For ongoing stress during a period of your life:
If you know the next few months are going to be stressful because of a promotion at work, a divorce, the death of a loved one for example then a simple increase by a few units in your background insulin dose can have a big impact on staying in your goal blood sugar range.
Dont underestimate how much ongoing stress can affect your daily insulin needs. Even on the normal days during a stressful period of your life, your body is still coping with that ongoing stressor.
Reducing Stress Levels To Manage Diabetes
When your body reacts to stress, it creates both a physical change in blood glucose levels and a mental change in overall energy level and outlook. To make sure that youre properly managing your diabetes, its important to take a few measures to reduce your stress levels.
Managing your diabetes can be stressful on its own. To avoid getting stuck in a negative cycle, try to incorporate some of the ways to reduce stress in your life. In an effort to make diabetes management easier, talk to your doctor about getting a continuous glucose monitor from . This allows for easier readings and more insight on your unique circumstances. Our Caring Touch At Home Program combines convenience, affordability, and choice to deliver extensive service and support to everyone living with diabetes.
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How Stress Affects Type 2 Diabetes
No one lives a stress free life. Stress, both mental and physical can affect type 2 diabetics in several ways. This is mostly because of how stress affects blood sugar levels in the body, which has implications for type 2 diabetics. Read on to discover how to accurately track your own stress levels and the impact to your blood sugar levels. Maintaining a good understanding of stress and how to manage it with your diabetes is an often overlooked factor in good health.
We will discuss here, the two types of stress, physical and mental, how it affects blood sugar levels. Then Ill tell you how to know how your stress is affecting your blood sugar and then finally, what exactly you can do about it.
Stress Impacts Sleep Which Impairs Glucose Tolerance
Often times, stress leaves us tense and anxious and can cause sleep problem. Many studies have shown the negative health impacts of not getting enough sleep. The impact on diabetes is no exception.
Although everyone has their own standards of what good sleep is, keep in mind that sleeping less than six hours a night has also been found to contribute to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes or can worsen the progress of type 2 diabetes.Add to this, the fact people who are tired tend to eat more because they want to get energy from somewhere. This is usually by consuming sugar or other foods that can spike blood sugar levels, further aggravating their diabetes.
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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.
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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.
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Summary: How Stress Affects Your Blood Sugar
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.
How Can I Reduce Stress In My Life
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.
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