How Can Glucose Levels Influence Depression
There are a few reasons for poor glucose control resulting in higher prevalence of depression in both diabetic and healthy populations. Research has shown that diets high in added sugars or foods that ultimately raise your blood sugar are linked to depression and adverse mental health symptoms after several years. This informs us that diets high in added sugar impacts mental health on a long-term basis.
High dietary intake of added sugar has impacts on various metabolic processes that may result in the development of depression
- Excessive sugar intake can lead to inflammation in the body, which is correlated with higher risks of depression, along with varied high and low glucose levels that impacts fluctuations in our hormones. Hormone dysregulation can often have a negative effect on our moods and is linked to greater risk for depression over time.
Excess sugar intake can have an addictive like effect
- Diets high in added sugar can often impact our pleasure / reward chemical, dopamine, in the brain Ã¢ resulting in an addictive effect that feeds a cycle of poor mood, depression, and desire for more sugar to improve those feelings.
Overall stress related to being diagnosed with and managing diabetes
Studies show a biological relationship related to a mechanism in the brain that predisposes diabetics to depression
Increased blood glucose levels have been associated with increasing the neurotransmitter Glutamate
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How To Avoid Low Blood Glucose Levels
Addressing low blood sugar levels as soon as possible can help prevent symptoms from getting worse. Before you try any remedy for hypoglycemia though, remember that it is always best to consult with your physician first. This way, the approach to managing your low blood sugar will be better tailored to your specific condition. This is especially helpful if you are also suffering from adrenal fatigue.
That said, here are some easy ways that you can effectively manage your blood sugar levels to keep them from becoming dangerously low.
Consider going on a hypoglycemia diet.
A good hypoglycemia diet is designed to help you normalize your bodys blood sugar levels in the healthiest way possible. This diet utilizes foods rich in fiber such as chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, beans, artichokes, apples, and flaxseeds.
At the same time, this diet also includes a variety of healthy carbohydrates, which are critical since this is what glucose is primarily made from. Recommended sources of carbohydrates include wild rice, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.
In addition, the hypoglycemia diet also includes the consumption of healthy fats. These include extra virgin olive oil and virgin coconut oil.
Take meals more frequently.
Consume more protein.
Take supplements for adrenal support.
How Does Adrenaline Affect Your Blood Sugar
In a non-diabetic body, that surge of adrenaline triggering a surge of glycogen would be accompanied by a surge of insulin, too.
As people with diabetes, were missing the surge of insulin part, which can easily spike your blood sugar from 120 mg/dL to 300 mg/dL in less than an hour.
Adjusting your insulin for this can be tricky. A quick bolus of insulin using your normal correction factor ratio could easily produce little or no effect on the high blood sugar while adrenaline is present.
Personally, Ive found that I needed a significant increase in my background insulin doses on the day of a powerlifting competition in order to keep my blood sugar from spiking due to adrenaline. A quick bolus would have no impact and the only thing that would otherwise bring my blood sugar down was when the competition ended and my body relaxed.
If youre dealing with predictable adrenaline around a sporting event, for example, talk to your healthcare team about making an adjustment in your background insulin.
If youre dealing with sudden, unexpected surges of adrenaline because you just got into a car accident, for example, youll likely have to try lowering it with a bolus of insulin but may not see it come down for a few hours.
When its actually not adrenaline
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How Stress Affects Blood Sugar
6/29/2020 by Miriam Stangs
From adrenaline-soaked excitement to prolonged anxiety, stress can have many faces. Sometimes, it can feel like all those stressors dont play well with your diabetes monster. Were here to explain how stress impacts your blood glucose and how you can gain control.
Back in our evolutionary history, the original purpose of your stress response was to provide energy reserves for fight-or-flight in case of an emergency. The urban jungle we live in today hardly requires a prehistoric escape, but our body still reacts to our daily stress in the same way it did back then.
And constant, heavy, stress can cause blood sugar levels to rise. But acute stress in certain situations that you perceive as stressful can also cause spikes in your blood sugar levels.¹
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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The Effect Of Stress On Blood Sugar
Stress triggers an increase in the body’s levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol, as if you were under attack, explains Roger McIntyre, MD, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Toronto in Canada. In response, the body releases extra energy into the bloodstream in the form of glucose.
When chronically heightened, cortisol works against glucose control even in people who dont have diabetes, Dr. McIntyre says. Yet people with diabetes are unable to properly process and store that glucose because of insulin resistance, meaning that glucose accumulates even more in their blood in times of stress.
Everyone gets stressed out at times, but its important to understand that theres a difference between short-term and long-term stress, he says. While lifes inevitable acute stressors getting stuck in traffic, bickering with a family member cause a temporary rise in blood sugar, its the factors that can lead to chronic stress, such as an unhappy marriage, a cruel boss, or the COVID-19 quarantine, that can cause serious damage.
Diabetes is even considered to be an independent factor in the development of depression, according an analysis published in June 2019 in Preventive Medicine Reviews. That means that if you take two otherwise identical people, the one with diabetes is significantly more likely to struggle with depression.
Summary: How Stress Affects Your Blood Sugar
In short, stress will generally cause your blood sugar to rise. It will also be difficult to bring it down because of the insulin resistance created by stress hormones and the production of glucose from your livers response to adrenaline.
The larger majority of stressful situations arent something we can easily predict, but once youre experiencing stress, you can predict that your blood sugar might spike.
Remembering to check your blood sugar during and after stressful situations is an important part of diabetes management, but dont add to your stress by expecting to be able to easily correct any high blood sugars during a stressful state.
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How Stress Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels
Stress can have a bad effect on blood sugars. This is true whether or not you are currently living with borderline or type 2 diabetes. We all know on an intuitive level that stress affects our overall health and wellbeing. Stress also has a huge impact on metabolic health. For many of us, during this covid19 pandemic, this is has been a very stressful time, filled with a lot of uncertainty.
At the very beginning of the pandemic, I hosted a webinar called Thriving Through Change. During the webinar, I spoke about the different types of change.
How we each perceive change is intensely personal.
We see change as either good or bad. The change we perceive as bad is because it is disruptive. An example of disruptive change is what many of us may be currently facing, such as shelter in place orders several states have instituted here in the United States. The disruptive change that this pandemic has caused increases our bodys response to stress through what is called the stress response.
The Stress Response
The stress response is the way the body responds to stress. It is regulated by a network of hormones that set up a cascade of reactions that affect how our body functions in response to the stress.
The stress response performs a good purpose. For instance, we need to feel stress when we are being outrun by the infamous saber-tooth tiger. We absolutely need our stress response at that point. Or else we will be some animals dinner.
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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Calculate Your Risk Of Diabetes
Healthy habits such as staying physically active and eating well can help reduce the negative effects of stress. Larks stress management coaching also walks you through stress management techniques, from acknowledging stress to deep breathing to visualization.
Diabetes management is a balancing act that can have amazing payoffs in terms of long-term health and wellness. Stress can throw a wrench into the loop, but managing stress along with diabetes can keep you as healthy as possible. Lark for Diabetes can help you manage stress and make smart choices that fit into your lifestyle so they can become habits.
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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.
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When Stress Strikes Closely Monitor Your Blood Sugar
When youre stressed, you should be monitoring and checking your sugars to see if the stress is having an effect or not, Dr. Belfort De Aguiar says. Simply being aware that stressful situations can affect blood sugar can prepare you to make adjustments. When youre under a lot of stress, thats when you want to be really on top of your blood sugar, Campbell says. Its the time to hone your self-care behaviors.
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.
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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.
Dealing With Diabetes Can Cause Anxiety
Lets face it: Controlling diabetes is hard work. That in itself is enough to cause worry and stress. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, those with diabetes are 20 percent more likely to experience anxiety than those without the disease.
We understand this, and were dedicated to helping alleviate your worry by working together as a team to address any distressing issues.
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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.
So What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels In Non
Now that you know the dynamics of food digestion, glucose absorption into blood circulation and the expected insulin response, explaining what causes high blood sugar in non-diabetics becomes logical.
So, here it goes:
If you have a fully functioning beta cells in your pancreas that produce, store, and release insulin in response to blood sugar rises when you eat, then a quick response is expected to regulate blood sugar. This quick response prevents unnecessary blood glucose fluctuations.
And this process of blood sugar correction works so efficiently that within an hour and half of eating, your blood sugar levels should return to the fasting blood sugar levels of below 100mg/dl .
In fact, at 2 hours after-meal, both the first phase and second phase insulin release from the beta cells should have your blood sugar levels down to 80mg/dl .
However, if your First phase insulin response and more importantly, your Second phase insulin release is defective or sluggish for whatever reason, then you will have high blood sugar level even if you are non-diabetic. This is actually referred to as Impaired Glucose Tolerance.
Persistent impaired glucose tolerance is actually pre-diabetes.
Impaired glucose tolerance precedes Type 2 diabetes. If your blood sugar level remains high despite your first and second phase insulin release best efforts, such that it hits 200mg/dl 2 hours after eating, then by definition, you are now diabetic.
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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.