What Is Out Of Your Control
Stress can potentially undo the routines you put in place to manage your diabetes. You may start to eat more and exercise less, which will elevate your glucose levels. High glucose levels can:
- Make it harder to focus on your diabetes care.
- May make you feel like eating more.
- Affect your quality of sleep.
However, you can take steps to better control your blood glucose levels and your stress levels.
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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.
Stress Raises Blood Sugar Levels
Why does extra tension in your body cause your blood sugar to go up even if you havenât eaten anything? There are a number of factors that go into this, but a primary reason is that stress triggers the body to release cortisol, which is a hormone that helps the body get through tough situations .When cortisol comes out to play, your heart rate and breathing speed up. This also sends glucose and protein stores from your liver into the blood to make energy immediately available to your muscles. In other words, your body releases sugar into the blood so that the energy can get throughout your system. The result: higher blood sugar levels.
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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.
Can Stress Raise Blood Sugar Type 2 Diabetes
When you have type 2 diabetes, any kind of stress can cause changes in your blood sugar levels. Mental stress, like worrying about work or family, typically increases blood sugar levels. If you experience physical stress, like if you’re sick or injured, you may also see an increase in blood sugar levels.
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Signs Of High Blood Sugars And When To Worry
Knowing about the connection between stress and blood sugar levels is important, but it is equally important to know the symptoms of high blood sugar to be able to take necessary steps. The most common early signs of high blood sugar are fatigue, increased urination, blurred vision and increased thirst. In later stages, you may experience abdominal pain, nausea, fruity-smelling breath, rapid breathing, confusion, weakness, and unconsciousness.
Be sure to contact your doctor when you experience early symptoms of high blood sugar or have ongoing diarrhea for 24 hours or more. Similarly, fever that persists for 24 hours, blood sugar readings above 250mg/dl for more than 24 hours, and ongoing vomiting for more than 24 hours are other situations when you should contact your healthcare provider.
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What Happens In Your Body When You Get Stressed
Stress hormones have a big role to play.
When youre experiencing physical or emotional stress, hormones are released that increase your blood sugar. Cortisol and adrenaline are other primary hormones involved.
This is a perfectly natural response. For example, if youre being chased by a barking dog or youre in a dangerous situation, you need these hormones to prepare your body for a fight or flight situation.
But when youre stressed, your body releases these hormones, even if there isnt a major physical threat involved.
The result? Higher blood pressure, increased heart rate and a rise in blood sugar.
The problem becomes more complicated.
If youre consistently under stress, your hormones and sugar will continue to surge.
Over time, this can put you at risk for:
- Heart disease
This is one reason why its so important to treat your stress and anxiety.
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Low Blood Sugar Mimics Anxiety
The mutual symptoms of low blood sugar and anxiety are not coincidental. There is a shared physiological base of the two conditions.
When low blood sugar occurs, the body attempts to normalize levels by bringing blood glucose up. It does this through epinephrine excretion, which triggers glucose production in the liver.
Increased adrenaline levels, however, trigger a “fight or flight” response in the body. This same biochemical process is also linked to anxiety.
A longer-term or chronic low blood sugar state can also cause the body to produce cortisol, which is the “stress hormone.” Cortisol helps tissues in the body be less reactive to insulin, which helps increase glucose circulation in the bloodstream.
While this may help raise and normalize blood sugar levels, higher cortisol levels are also linked to anxiety. For this reason, many of the warning signs and symptoms of low blood sugar are shared with that of anxiety.
How Stress Affects Diabetes
In the following paragraphs, we shall analyze the relationship between stress and diabetes. Diabetes is caused by increased blood sugar levels in the body. When the body feels stressful, it activates a mechanism called fight-to-flight response. It boosts up the hormone levels and starts releasing hormones like adrenaline & cortisol in the bloodstream. In a healthy person, there are mechanisms in the body which help to cope with the increased release of these hormones. However, in a body that is already coping to deal with the increased sugar levels, its no longer able to deal with aggravated sugar. These mechanisms are stunted in a diabetic patient. This can lead to worsening of diabetes, heart muscle rupture, stroke or even death.
Stress is known to be a major factor which hinders the smooth treatment and management of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, mental stress is known to either increase or decrease the blood sugar and glucose levels, while in type 2 diabetes, mental stress increases the level of blood sugar. Physical stress which can be caused by accident. Injury and other things are known to increase the blood sugar and glucose levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
So, can stress cause diabetes? As is clear from above, stress can be a major contributor to causing diabetes. Ways in which stress affects diabetes can be many. A few of them include:
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How Stress Affects Blood Sugar Levels
Two types of stress can change blood sugar levels:
- Physical stress
- Mental or emotional stress
Each type of stress affects blood sugar levels differently. Physical stress generally causes blood sugar levels to increase. Physical stress includes:
Mental or emotional stress has mixed effects, depending on the type of diabetes you have:
- Type 1 diabetes: Mental stress can increase or decrease blood sugar levels.
- Type 2 diabetes: Mental stress generally increases blood sugar levels.
Stress also can affect your blood sugar levels indirectly by causing you to forget about your regular diabetes care routine. When youre stressed out, you might:
- Exercise more or less
- Not test your blood sugar level as often
- Forget or delay a dose of medication and/or insulin
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What Happens When Your Blood Sugar Is High
When glucose levels are elevated, this is known as hyperglycemia. Stress may be a big player when it comes to hyperglycemia, but along with that comes other potential health factors. Sleep, diet, productivity, theyre all important in keeping a blood glucose level where it is supposed to be at. Its okay if its not always on the number that youre aiming for, were not perfect, but aiming to have those numbers as close as to what our doctors recommend, that is an essential key.
Hyperglycemia symptoms include:
Being hungry or not wanting to eat anything at all
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When Blood Sugar Is Too Low
Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and its also formed and stored inside the body. Its the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when were sleeping.
The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, its called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.
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.
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Follow These Steps To Find Out If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Affected By Mental Stress:
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Why Your Blood Sugar Drops
The goal of diabetes treatment is to lower your blood sugar. But sometimes, it drops too low. Most people feel symptoms if it goes below 70 milligrams per deciliter . It can happen when you:
- Take too much diabetes medicine
- Skip meals
- Eat less
- Exercise more than normal
People who donât have diabetes can get low blood sugar, too. Some medicines and diseases can cause it. It can also happen if you:
- Drink too much alcohol
- Eat lots of sugary, high-carb foods
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Not Brushing And Flossing
If you have diabetes, youre more likely to get gum disease . And serious gum disease can make it harder to keep your blood sugar under control. Like all infections, it may cause your glucose to rise. That, in turn, can make other infections more likely. Inflamed or infected gums can also cause your bodys defense system to go into overdrive. That makes it harder for your body to keep insulin and blood sugar in check.
Make sure you not only brush and floss your teeth but also rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash daily.
Keep up with your dentist visits, work on managing your blood sugar, and, if you have gum disease, treat it — and any other infection in any part of your body — ASAP.
What To Do If You Have A Blood Sugar Spike
For those with diabetes, having a blood sugar spike can be dangerous because too much sugar in the blood passes into the urine. This triggers the body to filter out the fluid, which could lead to dehydration or a diabetic coma.
In the event that blood sugar levels spike because of stressors that cannot be managed, its vital to make managing your blood glucose a priority. You can do this by focusing on things you can control, such as your diet and exercise, checking your blood sugar regularly, and taking your medications as instructed by your physician.
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The Wrong Way To Deal With Stress When You Have Diabetes
Food, alcohol, self-pity: These unhealthy coping mechanisms do more harm than good. When were stressed out, we turn to unhealthy food comfort food and we may start eating a lot of sweets, Belfort De Aguiar says. These are the wrong ways to cope with stress.
Also, find ways to reach out and find social connection with your loved ones. Campbell also warns against keeping your emotions bottled up inside. Be sure to share your stress, she says, even it just means having someone listen to you vent.
For more on dealing with diabetes burnout, check out Diabetes Daily’s article “How to Get Out of a Diabetes Rut“!
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.
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Other Ways Stress Causes High Blood Sugar
There are other ways that stress can lead to spikes in blood sugar. During periods of stress, people may participate in behaviors that could lead to high blood sugar such as emotional overeating of refined carbohydrates or foods that are high in added sugars. People may also fail to exercise or take their medications when theyre supposed to. Since stress has the ability to change healthy habits, these factors can all lead to elevated blood sugar levels.
Stress can also affect sleep because stress and sleep are both controlled by the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. When a person is under high stress and the axis is encouraging the extra production of cortisol, changes in the axis occur. This leads to problems with getting quality sleep as well as changes in sleeping patterns. When a person isnt getting enough sleep, it can cause glucose intolerance, which describes metabolic conditions that cause high blood sugar levels.
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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Is Sugar Bad For You
If you love sweets, don’t despair. You don’t have to give them up forever. Sugar will raise your blood sugar levels more quickly than other carbs, but diabetes experts now say the total amount of carbs is most important. So keep your serving sizes small and take into account the total carbs and calories.