Friday, September 22, 2023

Can Stress Raise Your A1c

Your Type 2 Diabetes Is Progressing

How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist

Type 2 diabetes can change over time, and your treatment plan may no longer work as well as it used to, Lenhard says. If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas may make insulin a hormone needed to move glucose from the blood into cells where its used for energy but your cells dont respond normally to it. To combat this insulin resistance, your pancreas works overtime to make more insulin to get cells to respond. Eventually this can damage the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, causing the pancreas to lose its ability to make enough insulin to keep up with your bodys needs.

I try and remind all of my patients with type 2 diabetes that its a progressive, genetic disorder, Lenhard explains. Over time, the pancreas makes less insulin. Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active slow the process but dont stop it. Thats why its vital to work with your doctor to regularly monitor your blood sugar and A1C levels and, if needed, adjust treatment.

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.

RELATED: The Top Telemedicine Apps for the COVID-19 Pandemic

How To Reduce Anxiety

First, lets be clear: If youre experiencing anxiety, we want to know about it. We care about much more than your physical health. We know that;mental health;is an important part of your overall well-being.

We care about our patients, and we are always in your corner, ready to help you.

Following are some useful tips for reducing anxiety:

  • Any type of physical activity, even if its just a quick walk around the block during your lunch break.
  • Reducing or eliminating your alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Getting enough sleep

If your anxiety continues for more than two weeks or if youre finding it difficult to complete everyday activities, you should consider talking to a counselor or psychologist who can provide help and direction. We can provide a referral if needed.

Recommended Reading: What Are The Symptoms Of Post Traumatic Stress

There Are Several Ways To Self

One of;the most important tests people with diabetes use;is the daily finger prick, in which a drop of blood is placed on a test strip and inserted into a blood sugar meter to quickly get a blood sugar reading. People with diabetes often need to self-test their blood sugar to make sure its steady. However, there are other ways to self-test blood sugar, including continuous glucose monitors. More often used by people with type 1 diabetes, the devices use a small sensor wire that is inserted below the skins surface to continuously monitor glucose levels. The sensors need to be replaced every three to seven days, and people who use them typically still need to do finger-prick tests to make sure the devices are working correctly.

Bolus Insulin Plus Correction Doses Can Whipsaw Your Blood Sugars But Small Increases In Your Basal Insulin Can Often Smooth These Cycles

Diabetes Experts Share Ways To Lower Your A1C Levels ...

Ginger Vieira 0

Yes, just 1 unit.

I bet youre thinking: But I have low blood sugars all the time! Increasing my background insulin will just make me go low more often!

Have you been trying to lower your A1c for months and months now? Youre eating a healthier diet more whole foods, fewer crackers, less sugar and youre walking every day and checking your blood sugar often.

But your A1c just wont budge? And on top of it, youre constantly correcting highs and juggling lows.

Also Check: How Does The Body React To Stress

Reasons For Elevated A1c Without Diabetes

This author has been verfied for credibility and expertise

An A1c blood test, also called hemoglobin A1c, is recommended by the American Diabetes Association for prediabetes and diabetes screening, and recommended for routine monitoring of blood sugar levels in people with diabetes 3.A1c is a form of hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells — that has combined with a molecule of blood sugar or glucose. As a marker for how much glucose has been present in the blood over time, elevated A1c values are most commonly seen in people with prediabetes and diabetes 3. However, in certain medical situations, A1c may be elevated in someone who does not have these conditions.

How Does Mindfulness Meditation Alleviate Stress

Mindfulness meditation is the art of becoming aware of our present moment experiences, including thoughts, emotions and sensations in a non-judgemental and accepting manner.

Mindfulness meditation courses have been shown to significantly reduce stress, anxiety and panic attacks in people who are diagnosed with chronic stress and anxiety disorders such as Seasonal Anxiety Disorder

Specifically, research studies have also shown that mindfulness can help people who have diabetes improve their blood glucose control, reduce their blood pressure and enhance their overall quality of life.

The research suggests that by simply accepting or acknowledging destructive emotions in a non-judgemental way, as opposed to suppressing them or trying to change them, people with diabetes are able to better regulate their blood glucose levels and cope with the mental strain of constantly treating themselves.

Recommended Reading: What Can You Do To Get Rid Of Stress

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.

How To Lower A1c

How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia

In many cases, you can lower A1c without medications. Lifestyle changes are often enough to reverse or slow insulin resistance and the progression of prediabetes. If your doctor does prescribe medications to manage blood sugar, your healthy lifestyle can make the medications more effective or allow you to take smaller doses to get the results you need.

Lifestyle changes that help lower A1c include:

  • Losing weight if you are carrying extra pounds
  • Eating a healthy diet with foods that help lower blood sugar
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Reducing or managing stress

Read Also: How To Deal With Stress During Pregnancy

Weight Loss And Diet To Lower A1c

Losing extra weight is a top priority for reducing A1c. Extra body weight is a risk factor for diabetes, and those extra pounds may be a cause of insulin resistance and high A1c. Losing extra pounds can be as beneficial as gaining them is harmful. In fact, one study found that each kilogram reduction of body weight was linked to a decrease in A1c of 0.1%. That is heartening news if you are far from a so-called ideal body weight, but losing a few pounds seems within reach.

You can aim for modest, sustained weight loss with small changes to your regular routine.

  • Use a smaller plate or bowl to make portion sizes smaller, naturally
  • Eat another helping of vegetables before serving yourself seconds of anything else
  • Drink water instead of beverages with calories
  • Eat more filling foods, such as vegetables, fish, and beans
  • Reduce portion sizes of sugary, starchy, and fatty foods
  • Use a health coach to log your food and track your weight

Along with losing weight, choosing healthier foods can lower A1c and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes or lower the risk for complications. The best diet for prediabetes and diabetes is full of foods that may increase insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar or A1c levels, or reduce the risk for diabetes comorbidities, such as high blood pressure. These foods include the following.

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.

Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Heart Problems

Have I Failed If My Test Results Are High

Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease. It can take time to develop a treatment plan that works for you. As other aspects of your life change, your treatment plan might need to be adjusted too.

If your A1C test results are high, it doesnt mean that youre a failure. Instead, it might be a sign that your treatment plan needs to be tweaked. Talk to your doctor to learn about your treatment options and the steps you can take to manage your blood sugar levels.

If youre having trouble following your treatment plan, let your doctor know. In some cases, they might be able to prescribe treatments that are easier for you to use. Or they might have tips to help you stick with your current plan.

To help manage your blood sugar levels, your doctor might recommend one or more of the following:

  • changes to your diet, exercise routine, or other lifestyle habits
  • oral medications, injectable medications, or a combination of both
  • weight-loss surgery

Your doctor might refer you to a specialist who can help you develop healthy lifestyle habits and an effective treatment plan. For example, a dietitian can help you design an eating plan for optimum blood sugar control. A mental health specialist can help you cope with stress.

What Are Symptoms Of Depression

How to Lower Your A1C by Taking 5 Small Steps

Too much stress sometimes can lead to depression. People with diabetes are more likely to be depressed than the average person. You may be at risk for depression if you have any of the following symptoms for more than a week:

  • Feeling sad or irritable
  • Having lost interest in activities you enjoy
  • Feeling worthless

Read Also: How To Reduce Stress And Anger

What Is The Best Medicine To Lower A1c

Ozempic® Works to Help You Lower Your Blood Sugar and A1C

  • Those who took 0.5 mg of Ozempic® had an average starting A1C of 8.0% and lowered it by an average of 1.3%.
  • Those who took 1 mg of Ozempic® also had an average starting A1C of 8.0% and lowered it by an average of 1.5%.

Can Stress And Anxiety Raise Blood Sugar Levels

Raleigh Medical Group, P.A.Diabetes, General Posts, Mental Health, Stressblood sugar, diabetes, exercise, men’s health

Everyone experiences anxiety. In fact, studies show Americans are more;stressed out;than ever.

But can stress and anxiety actually raise the level of your blood sugar? And what does this mean for those who have;diabetes?;;

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Illness Or Stress Can Affect Your Glucose Level

One way stress could be making you sick is by increasing the chance that blood sugar will rise. Stress and illness causes high blood glucose levels because during these times, your liver releases extra glucose to ensure enough energy is readily available, Zuckerbrot says. At the same time, cortisol and growth hormone are released which makes your body less sensitive to insulin. As a result, blood glucose levels are higher than usual. But its not irreversible: Research in;Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome;found that people with diabetes were able to reduce their glucose levels after stress management training with a psychologist where patients learned muscle relaxation techniques, among others.

Reduce And Manage Stress

How Stress Affects Your Body and Mind

Stress increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to imbalances in your blood sugar and in many other hormones. Experiencing some stress from time to time is normal, but chronic stress can have serious consequences on your health and raise your blood sugar levels.

Proven ways to decrease stress are regular exercise, stretching, meditation, yoga practice, deep breathing, mindfulness practices, listening to music, family time, making time for self-care, and hobbies. Just 10 to 30 minutes a day of consistent practice of one or more of the above can make a huge difference in well-being, Dr. Raja advises.

Following a regular sleep routine, avoiding excessive screen time, and adjusting your work schedule to make time self-care is also important. I am a big proponent of taking time for self-care, family, and hobbies. These activities bring you joy and result in better health.

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How Can I Check My A1c At Home

There are home tests that you can purchase at your local pharmacy. They typically cost about half of what a hospital test costs and use a smaller amount of blood. Many at home kits have been cleared by the FDA and meet the standards of the National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program for measuring A1C. There are multiple brands available like CVS, Walgreens and others.

Frequent Low Blood Sugars Can Mean You Need More Background Insulin

While there are certainly times when frequent low blood sugars can mean were getting too much background insulin, the opposite can be true as well.

Picture this: if youre often higher than your goal range before or after eating, youre likely taking frequent correction doses of insulin. Those correction doses are stacking up on top of insulin youre taking for your meals, too.

If what you actually need is more background insulin, these frequent correction doses are going to lead to lows because they are inevitably delivered in too large of a cumulative dose.

Background insulin is supposed to be a drip, drip, drip from your pump, or the gradual action of long-acting insulin.

If youre constantly correcting highs with boluses of insulin because youre not getting enough background insulin, youre going to experience constant lows, too.

Also Check: How To Manage Stress Levels

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.

How To Reduce Your Blood Sugar Level Naturally

Can Stress Cause A1c To Be High?

Its possible to reduce your blood sugar level naturally without medication. However, you will need to make one or more significant lifestyle changes that promote better overall health and decrease insulin resistance or increase insulin sensitivity. Follow the below steps to lower your blood sugar naturally.

Dr. Raja gives her five tips that can help reduce your blood sugar, The first thing is to eat a low carb diet, low in starchy foods, highly processed foods or concentrated sugars. Second is to regularly exercise, a minimum of 30 minutes five days a week. The third way is to incorporate some form of strength conditioning, simple body weight exercises that help build muscle, since muscle decreases insulin sensitivity. The fourth way is intermittent fasting and the fifth is weight loss, even a few pounds. All these should help patients lower their insulin resistance, and lower their blood sugar naturally.

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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.

RELATED: How Diabetes and Anxiety Are Connected

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