Arm Yourself With Quick Fixes
The toll stress takes on your health largely depends on how you react to it, Campbell says. Identify things that help you cool off, and keep them ready-to-go in your back pocket. Maybe you treat yourself to a massage or a manicure, she says. Or maybe you just talk to someone. Okay, a professional massage might not be possible at the moment, but maybe you have a significant other who can lend a hand. Focusing on your breath is another simple way to calm your mind and body, wherever you are. If you have an Apple device, open the free Breathe app, and let it help you slow and deepen your breath.
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Change The Response To Stress
Most stress management techniques emphasize changing the response to stress. When the response to chronic or acute stress results in rage and reactive behavior, a thought-stopping and reflective technique can be helpful in preventing negative consequences of the impulsive behaviors associated with anxiety and rage . Other approaches involve learning how to induce a more relaxed feeling.
Benson’s relaxation response, first reported as a means to lower blood pressure, can be useful in inducing relaxation quickly in times of stress, for example, while driving in traffic,or before taking an exam. Practicing the relaxation response is extremely important because the technique is difficult to learn. However, once learned,the relaxation response quickly brings about the physiological responses associated with relaxation.
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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When You Have Type 1 Diabetes
When you have type 1 diabetes, insulin reactions or low blood sugars are a common cause of stress. The hormonal response to a low blood sugar includes a rapid release of epinephrine , 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 1 diabetes, stress may make your blood sugar go up and become more difficult to control and you may need to take higher doses of insulin.
During times of stress, individuals with diabetes, may have more difficulty controlling their blood sugars.
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Research On Links Between Stress And Diabetes
A new study at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center/Ohio State University College of Medicine documents a clear link between the stress hormone cortisol and higher blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
In healthy people, cortisol fluctuates naturally throughout the day, spiking in the morning and falling at night. But in participants with type 2 diabetes, cortisol profiles that were flatter throughout the day were shown to have higher glucose levels.
Previous research had shown that stress and depression are two of the major causes of a flatter cortisol profile. These sustained levels of cortisol make it much more difficult to control blood sugar and manage the disease. For this reason, its so important for people living with type 2 diabetes to find ways to reduce stress.
While the relationship between short-term stress and diabetes can cause temporary blood sugar increases, long-term stresses may expose a person to multiple on-going problems with diabetes.
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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.
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.
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How Can Stress Affect The Body
It is essential to understand the difference between short term and long term stress. Acute stressors include running late for an appointment or getting stuck in traffic. Although it feels stressful at the time, we cannot control this.
Chronic stress may include difficulty at work, caring for a loved one or financial strains. If youre dealing with chronic stress, this can lead to long term challenges with managing your long-term measure of blood glucose .
If youre feeling stressed, your blood glucose levels rise. As a result, glucose levels increase.
When blood glucose is high, this can affect your mood, and you may feel cranky, tired and not have enough energy to get things done.
Type 1 Diabetes Lifestyle
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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 whats 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.
How To Reduce Stress And Tension
Many people deal with stress daily because of work, home life, financial situations, or health conditions. Minimizing the effects of these daily stressors can significantly impact overall well-being. Here are a few stress-relieving practices that you can make as short or long, easy or complex as you would like. Give these a try:
Be on the lookout for common symptoms of diabetes like frequent urination, increased hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision. Schedule an appointment with a St. Lukes Health endocrinologist if you have concerns or questions about diabetes and its management. For more tips on coping with stress, reach out to a Baylor St. Lukes Medical Group primary care physician.
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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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High Levels Of Cortisol Lead To Higher Blood Sugar Levels
According to researchers, in healthy people, cortisol fluctuates naturally throughout the day, spiking in the morning and falling at night. But in people with type 2 diabetes, cortisol profiles that were flatter throughout the day and they had higher glucose levels. These sustained levels of cortisol make it much more difficult to control blood sugar and manage the disease, which is why it is so important for those with type 2 diabetes to find ways to reduce stress. Researchers have now begun a new trial to examine if mindfulness practices can lower blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. But they add that this isn’t the only effective form of stress relief. It’s important to find something you enjoy and make it a part of your everyday routine.
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Set Realistic Goals And Expectations
Sometimes, the stress we feel is self-created, especially when we set unrealistic goals or have extra-high expectations of ourselves. Set realistic and achievable goals, and put them down on paper with specific action steps to help you achieve them. Keep your expectations realistic toomaybe you wanted your house to be completely spotless before a dinner party, but will your friends notice that you didnt shine the floors? Will they care that youve got a little clutter lying around? Probably not. Go the extra mile when it really matters, but when it really doesnt, take it easy on yourself, and let goodor even okaybe good enough.
Art Therapy Another Tool To Fight Stress
Art therapy is one of the new forms of psychotherapy. The idea is based on considering artistic work as a means of therapy for patients. By materialising their experience through art, participants externalise and reduce their stress.
In practice, arttherapeutic disciplines include dance, theatre, painting and even writing.
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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.
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“!
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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 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
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