Saturday, December 3, 2022

Can Stress Cause High Blood Sugar

Insulin Resistance In The Making How Does Insulin Resistance Occur

What damage can high blood sugar and oxidative stress cause?

Your liver cells and muscle cells take up over three-quarters of the glucose produced by your meal. When your beta cells release insulin, the insulin drives the sugar from the blood circulation into the cells.

It is anticipated that the liver and muscle cells should be very responsive to the prompt by insulin to allow glucose inside those cells under normal circumstances.

The more responsive the cells are the more insulin sensitive you are.

However, there is a situation where even though your beta cells show a good first phase response, the amount of insulin released will not be enough to clear the circulating glucose from the blood.

This is because of what is happening peripherally in the receiving target organs the liver and muscles.

The cells of the liver and muscles become stubborn. They become unresponsive to the insulin released. The liver and muscle cells are resistant to the signals from the insulin to allow the glucose into them.

What happens next is that the second phase insulin release is prolonged. The second phase response is prolonged because the beta cells have to make and release lots more insulin to force a response by the resistant liver and muscle cells.

This lack of response by the liver and muscle cells to allow glucose inside their cells despite a persistent prompt by insulin is described as insulin resistance and is indeed how insulin resistance occurs.

This is called hyperinsulinemia.

Meaning theyve become resistant!

A Surprising Link Between Blood Sugar And Anxiety

While the sweet stuff is regularly in the spotlight for its ramifications on physical health, the link between anxiety and blood sugar should not be dimmed. We’re shining the light on the surprising association between the two!

Sugar : The latest villain reigning the obesity and diabetes epidemic the U.S. is facing.

While the sweet stuff is in the spotlight for its ramifications on physical health, the link between anxiety and blood sugar should not be dimmed.

What Causes Blood Sugar To Rise Without Eating

For the most part, food as you gathered from above, is the main driver for rises in blood sugar. However, life as you know is never a straight line.

There are other factors that can cause blood sugar to rise without eating. Some of that has to do with inter-play of hormones.

Stress hormones like cortisol, catecholamines , mobilize glucose from the stored glucose in the liver. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose in the liver.

These hormones cause a rise in blood sugar without eating both in diabetics and non-diabetics. Any thing that causes stress to your body will cause your blood sugar to rise.

Prescription and some over-the-counter medications like nasal decongestants can also cause your blood sugar to rise without eating.

Below are some of the causes of high blood sugar without eating:

  • Steroid medication
  • Diuretics pills that make you pee
  • Nasal decongestants containing phenylephrine or pseoudoephedrine
  • Poor sleep

As you tell from the above list, yes, stress can cause high blood sugar in non-diabetics. Stress from whatever origin has the potential to increase cortisol levels in the blood.

And as I explained earlier anything that causes liver cells to mobilize their glycogen stores unnecessarily will raise your blood sugar. Stress will do just that.

Should non-diabetics check blood sugar?

And Guess what

So, yes, my advice is that non-diabetics can test for blood sugar, if you are looking for some guidance on the matter.

Suggested further reading:

Read Also: Does Stress Increase Heart Rate

Ways To Reduce Stress And Manage Blood Sugar Levels

High blood sugar levels can lead to a range of symptoms, ranging from exhaustion to heart disease. Eating a healthy diet and adopting other healthier habits can help control blood sugar and prevent complications due to diabetes. Here are five simple things diabetics can do to combat stress and manage blood sugar levels:

  • Exercise: Exercising helps to reduce stress as well as provides several health benefits. Research has shown that doing aerobic exercise regularly decreases overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilise mood, improve sleep and self-esteem. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, doing just five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Exercise of any kind can be beneficial for you.
  • Take time to unwind: Practice relaxing mind-body activity like yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises or tai chi to combat stress, improve and maintain mental health.
  • Include herbs and spices in your diet: Certain herbs and spices such as lavender, passionflower, Ashwagandha, basil, ginger, turmeric, garlic, etc, not only help fight stress and anxiety but can also benefit diabetes management.
  • Seek medical help: If the above suggested tips do not seem to help and your stress is so bad, making you unable to function in your normal relationships or activities, talk to your physician or endocrinologist. Your doctor or endocrinologist can help you cope with excessive stress by collaborating with mental health professionals.
  • Stress In People With Type 1 Diabetes


    Stress can affect those with type 1 diabetes by both increasing and decreasing blood sugar. In the case where it lowers blood sugar levels, chronic stress can lead to a syndrome known as adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is where prolonged exposure to stress drains the adrenal glands, leading to a low cortisol state. In those with type 1 diabetes, the underproduction of hormones such as cortisol can cause an imbalance in hormones that are meant to regulate blood sugar levels.

    Research has also looked at whether stress can cause diabetes. Many studies have postulated that chronic stress especially can contribute to the onset of type 1 diabetes in those who are already susceptible to developing it.

    • Shortness of breath

    Recommended Reading: How To Manage Relationship Stress

    Can Stress Cause High Blood Glucose


    It is commonly known that certain foods, illness and lack of exercise can increase blood glucose levels. However, another factor that can increase blood glucose levels is stress. Managing stress is quite complicated. To make it even harder, each type of stress can affect blood glucose levels differently. Its all highly individual. So, how can stress cause high blood glucose and what can you do about it?

    Your Diet And Anxiety

    Many health professionals have said that contemporary Western diets are often overloaded with unhealthy sugars and fats. But anxiety disorders are not likely to be caused by diet alone. Rather, it is believed that a poor diet can trigger or make anxiety symptoms worse by changing the bodys functioning and making it harder for the body and mind to cope with stress.

    Thats why those that genuinely want to fight their anxiety may need to look beyond mere dietary changes in order to effectively reduce their anxiety.

    Read Also: Can Stress Cause Heart Flutters

    Can Stress Cause High Blood Sugar In Non Diabetics



    Some medicines can cause high blood sugar levels as a side effect. These include:

  • Barbiturate medicines, they are used to help control seizures and relieve anxiety. It can lower blood pressure, slow breathing, and decrease the body temperature.
  • Some diuretics, such as thiazide diuretics.
  • Catecholamines, hormones used to help increase blood pressure, heart rate, mental alertness, breathing rate, and muscle strength.
  • Corticosteroids, a class of steroid hormones used for anti-inflammatory medicine to treat numerous different conditions.
  • Some double-action antidepressants such as Zyprexa ).
  • The B vitamin niacin typically used to treat niacin deficiency and lower high cholesterol.
  • Furthermore, the use of some birth control pills may also cause a slightly elevated blood sugar level. If youre diabetic, make sure to choose birth control pills that have least effect on your blood sugar!

    Not getting enough sleep

    Sleep deprivation has also an effect on blood sugar. Lack of sleep is a kind of chronic stress on the body. And again, your body is going to have higher blood sugar level when you have added stress.

    It seems that not getting enough sleep at night can hurt more than your mood! If youre a diabetic, getting adequate sleep is much more important to help control your diabetes.

    If lack of sleep is to blame, you should see a subtle improvement in your blood sugar once you get into a consistent sleep routine.

    Menstrual hormonal changes
    Other conditions

    Low Blood Sugar Mimics Anxiety

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

    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.

    Recommended Reading: How Do You Lose Stress Weight

    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.

    RELATED: Why Sleep Matters When Youre Managing Type 2 Diabetes

    Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Diabetes

    Stress and anxiety could be the possible factors resulting in high blood sugar levels. As weve discussed above, a strong connection lies between them.

    Whenever a person is stressed or anxious, his body prepares itself by activating the fight-and-flight mode. This means he requires more energy in the form of sugar and the body makes changes according to it.

    This causes low insulin levels and high glucagon and adrenaline levels to release more glucose from the liver.

    At the same time, stress hormones cortisol and growth hormone are also secreted in the blood. They both tend to increase blood sugar levels and increases insulin resistance to muscle and fat tissues.

    Less glucose consumption and more production by the liver causes hyperglycemia.

    However, the effect of stress on blood sugar levels is still not clearly understood. In some people, anxiety raises blood glucose while in others it can decrease the blood glucose levels.

    Recommended Reading: Can I Sue My Employer For Stress

    Preventing Low Blood Sugar

    For someone with diabetes, the best way to prevent low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar often. You can check your blood sugar with a continuous glucose monitor or glucometer. Discuss with your healthcare provider how often you should be checking your blood sugar.

    Your healthcare provider might suggest checking before and after meals, before and after exercising, when changing your routine or schedule, when traveling across time zones, and more. By checking your blood sugar, you can identify when your sugar is falling and enact steps to normalize your levels.

    For people both with and without diabetes, another tried-and-true way to prevent low blood sugar is to eat regular meals. Avoid skipping meals or fasting. When you do eat, research indicates that eating a diet low in refined carbohydrates, and inclusive of omega-3 fats and adequate protein, can help regulate blood sugar and lower anxiety levels.

    Taking Care Of Yourself When Stressed

    Can High Blood Sugar Cause Anxiety?

    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.

    Read Also: Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Constipation

    Other Reasons For High Blood Sugar

    There are other possible causes of your high blood sugar, such as insulin resistance, which may run in your family. That’s when your body doesn’t respond as well as it should to the insulin it makes. Or, you may be taking a drug for another health problem that keeps your body from using it well.

    How you use insulin can also matter. If you give yourself shots in the same place over and over, for instance, that area may scar, which can affect how your body absorbs the hormone. It helps to change spots or use an insulin pump.

    Some people also take less insulin than they should. It might be because they’re afraid of low blood sugar or they’re nervous about needles. You might feel more comfortable by slowly increasing your insulin dose. Consider an insulin pump or pen if you don’t like needles. Many pumps alert you if your blood sugar is dropping.

    Whatever the cause of your blood sugar highs, work closely with your doctor to find a solution. And always talk with them before you make any changes in your insulin dose.

    Show Sources

    American Diabetes Association: “Blood Glucose Control and Exercise,” “About Our Meal Plans,” “Stress,” “What Are My Options?”

    Diabetes Forecast: “How About Post-Meal Insulin?” “New Medications for People with Type 1?”

    Michael German, MD, clinical director, Diabetes Center director, UCSF NIH Diabetes Research Center, University of California, San Francisco.

    Joslin Diabetes Center: “Diet and Diabetes: A Personalized Approach.”

    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“!

    You May Like: Why Am I So Stressed And Anxious All The Time

    Follow These Steps To Find Out If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Affected By Mental Stress:

  • Rate your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 indicates the lowest stress level and 10 the highest record your stress level in your logbook.
  • Test your glucose using your home monitor and enter the result.
  • After a week or two, study your results to see if there is a pattern or relationship between your stress level and your blood sugar levels.
  • Read Also: Can I Take Glipizide At Night

    Anxiety Over Low Blood Sugar

    Does stress cause high blood sugars?

    A low blood sugar episode, which can include anything from confusion and shakiness to nausea, loss of consciousness, and seizures, can be very scary. It therefore makes sense that some people with diabetes also experience anxiety related to possibly having a low blood sugar episodeand not just as a physiological reaction to low blood sugar levels.

    This anxiety is so common that the term “fear of hypoglycemia” is commonly used among healthcare providers and researchers. Research has found that a history of experiencing mild hypoglycemia increases FoH in people who have diabetes.

    Read Also: How To Not Stress About Life

    Effect Of Long Stress On Blood Glucose Levels

    It is important to be aware that repeated episodes of stress can cause serious changes in blood sugar levels, making it harder for diabetics to manage their condition and increasing the risk of hypoglycemia .

    Constant stress will also cause adrenal fatigue leading to adrenal failure, which is why it is vital to remove stress from your life, especially if you have diabetes.

    How Does Anxiety Affect Blood Sugar Levels

    You might think that spikes in blood sugar levels are only problems for those with diabetes, since they have problems with insulin secretion or use, although you might be surprised to find out that huge emotional stress that leads to anxiety can be the cause of blood sugar spike in non-diabetic population. The good news is, the spike is temporary most of the time, caused by overproduction of stress hormones and not by any kind of chronic metabolic abnormality.

    Unfortunately, there are not a lot of studies researching this topic, although the mechanism behind heightened blood sugar levels in response to stress is well-understood.

    Recommended Reading: What Does Stress Do To The Heart

    What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In Non

    To fully understand what causes high blood sugar levels in non-diabetics, it makes sense to go back to first principles of blood glucose regulation.

    You will be glad you did, because by the end of this blog post, you will have the fundamental knowledge to connect all the dots regarding why blood sugar may be high in a non-diabetic.

    So, lets do that, shall we:

    Behind your stomach is an organ called the pancreas. The pancreas has a cluster of cells scattered within it called the beta cells.

    The beta cells are very important to us. As little in size as they are, their importance cannot be over-emphasized.

    Why is this?

    Because Beta cells of the pancreas are responsible for producing, storing and releasing insulin when called upon.

    You need insulin to survive. Without insulin your cells cannot access the glucose in the blood circulation. Without insulin energy production will cease. Insulin is the hormone that drives sugar from the blood circulation into the cells.

    When glucose gets inside the cells, it can then be used by the mitochondria to produce energy. This is the energy we need to perform both basic and advanced everyday activities.

    How does insulin interact with the food we eat? When you eat, digestion of food begins in the mouth. The glucose in the food you eat gets released by the process of digestion via enzymes in your saliva and stomach.

    This is called Second Phase Insulin Release.

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