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.
Can Stress Raise Blood Sugar Levels
You might already know that stress can have an impact on many aspects of your life, from how well you sleep to how much you weigh. And if you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, you no doubt already know how important it is to keep your blood sugar from dipping too low or spiking too high. But did you know that stress has been shown to make it harder to control diabetes? Stress affects your blood sugar levels. But there are ways to mitigate stress, positively impacting your blood sugar managementand mindfulness can help.
Ways To Reduce Mental Stress
- Teach yourself to relax when under stress using deep-breathing exercises or techniques you learn in a stress-management class.
- Evaluate your schedule and determine if you can make changes to relieve stress.
- Exercise regularly
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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.
How Your Body Reacts To Stress
When your body detects the presence of stress and anxiety, it sees it as an attack. As such, the central nervous system prepares your body for the battle. It does this by producing increased amounts of adrenaline and cortisol.
These two hormones have a direct impact on your coronary system. Your heart starts pumping blood and rushing it to different parts of your body. This is to ensure that all your organs have enough energy to fight the symptoms of stress. And there are many possible symptoms, ranging from heartburn to trouble breathing.
If stress is a constant in your life, it can result in a number of chronic illnesses. These include severe insomnia, infertility, and even heart attack. Moreover, stress also affects your blood sugar levels, which can worsen the symptoms of diabetes.
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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
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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The Mental Vicious Circle
Beyond the pure physical impact of stress, theres a confounding mental element: If you are stressed out, your mental bandwidth to deal with complex tasks is reduced. You are less organized, energetic and motivated. So naturally, this impacts diabetes control. When people get stressed out, theyre more likely to eat heavy comfort foods, skip difficult tasks or medications, and to basically ignore their diabetes. This is even more significant when it comes to stresss first cousin: Depression.
Depressions negative effect on diabetes control is well-documented, and deadly serious.
Theres a big difference between being stressed or burnt out, and being clinically depressed, according to Dr. Bill Polonsky, founder of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, in this article on mental health and diabetes.
Depression is a clinically diagnosed or diagnosable medical condition, whereas experiencing stress is not. He explains:
Still, everyday stress on its own can certainly derail your diabetes management, and research shows it can even weaken your immune system.
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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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.
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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How To Test Your Blood Sugar At Home
To perform a blood sugar test, you will need to prick your finger with a lancet . Youll put a small sample of blood from this onto a strip inserted into the blood glucose meter.
Before you test your blood sugar at home, its important to find out from your doctor what a healthy blood sugar range is for you. Your doctor will determine this range based on factors such as:
- the type of diabetes you have
- how long youve had diabetes
- your age
- whether you have any other chronic health conditions
If you dont have a blood sugar testing machine on hand and are experiencing signs or symptoms of low blood sugar with diabetes, your symptoms may be enough to diagnose low blood sugar.
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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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.
Does Cortisol Cause Belly Fat
You may have heard that stress leads to belly fatâbut is it true, or just a myth?
The American Institute of Stress< sup> 7< /sup> reports there is a correlation between higher cortisol levels and increased fat in the abdominal area.
Cortisol can mobilize triglycerides from storage and relocate them to visceral fat in your abdomen, around your organs.
To make matters worse, enzymes in visceral fat cells can produce cortisol on top of the cortisol produced by the adrenal glands.
Abnormally high visceral fat is associated with serious health implications, including cardiovascular disease and some cancers< sup> 8< /sup> .
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How To Keep Cortisol At Bay
There are several ways you can help keep your cortisol levels under control.
Naturally, theres exercise which helps improve virtually all aspects of your health.
But we also have other, perhaps even more effective methods.
These include meditation, eating the right foods, and taking natural anti-stress nootropics.
See for yourself:
What Are The Symptoms Of Stress
Sometimes, the symptoms of stress are subtle and you may not notice them. Stress can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being, and it can also impact your physical health. Recognizing the symptoms can help you identify stress and take steps to manage it.
If youre stressed, you may experience:
Its possible to lessen or limit the stressors in your life. Here are a few things that you can do to manage the effects of different forms of stress.
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How Is It Affecting The Blood Sugar Levels
According to the American Diabetes Association, chronic stress can raise blood sugar. Mental stress, in particular, can affect the body more than the physical kind. This has to do with the body seeing it as a flight-or-fight situation and responds by producing hormones to help you prepare for the battle. People with mental stress are more prone to making poor health choices, like substance abuse, unhealthy eating, sleep and self-care. All of this can lead to poor effects in blood sugar and increase the production of stress hormones and raise blood sugar.
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 you’re 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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A Quick And Simple Step To Help Better Your Health
One simple way to ensure yourself that youâre not causing more harm to yourself by being concerned about your health as diabetic is to check your blood pressure regularly.When you keep track of your blood pressure , youâre empowered with the knowledge to know what works best for your body.For example, if youâre a bit more stressed than usual, youâll be able to see that trend. If a particular meal and diet plan is not working for you, youâll be able to observe that in the numbers that your measurements present. If an exercise routine is a bit more intense than your body can handle, your blood pressure measurements can show you that.Getting a simple home blood pressure monitor and then tracking your blood pressure on an app, like Hello Heart , is a way to good way to start. The Hello Heart app is free in the iTunes store and Google Play. It included built-in reminders and colorful visuals that help you easier see the trends that matter the most.
What Is A Healthy Blood Sugar Level For Non
Your fasting blood sugar should be less than 100. If the level is 100 to 125, you have prediabetes. If, on two separate tests, the result is 126 or higher, then you have diabetes.
Your internal medicine doctor in Raleigh may also recommend an A1C test, which measures your blood sugar level for the last three months. A normal reading is 5.7 % or below. Prediabetes is a reading between 5.7% and 6.4%. Readings higher than 6.5% on two separate tests indicate 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.
Stress Is Affecting Your Type 2 Diabetes
You know the things you eat affect your diabetes. Its easy to see the impact a brownie has on your blood sugar. You also know that exercise, your family history, and even your gender can play a role in the development and severity of your diabetes.
But do you know how stress is affecting your diabetes? One recent study has shown that stress increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes in older women. But men are at risk too. Anyone with stress faces an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes or seeing changes in your diabetes if youve already been diagnosed. Both physical and emotional stress can cause changes in your blood sugar levels, which can cause or worsen your diabetes.
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What Should You Do If Anxiety Is Affecting Your Blood Sugar
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your anxiety is raising your blood sugar, or if low blood sugar is causing some symptoms of anxiety. The only way to know for sure is to regularly test your blood sugar and work closely with one of our internal medicine physicians in Raleigh. We have helped hundreds of Triangle residents monitor their diabetes and keep it under control.
Working closely with your health care team can also keep you from experiencing some of the common health complications that can come from high blood sugar and diabetes. These include:
- Poor circulation, which can lead to non-healing wounds
- Cardiovascular disease