Friday, March 24, 2023

Does Stress Cause High Blood Sugar

Does Emotion Affect Blood Glucose

Why does stress increase blood sugars

Yes, emotions can affect your blood sugar. Anxiety, fear, even that happy feeling you had when you got that new job can be stressful sometimes. When were stressed whether its physical stress or mental stress our bodies produce hormones such as cortisol that can raise blood glucose even if we havent eaten. These hormones are known as the fight or flight hormones.

Modern day stresses can be anything from starting a new job to fighting an illness to getting ready for that big birthday party. These hormones release our bodys emergency stores of sugar into the bloodstream for use as energy. Sometimes the influx of sugar is too much for the body to use when someone has diabetes and it can cause blood sugars to rise too high.

There are some healthy ways to deal with stress so that the fight or flight response isnt activated. These can include taking a walk, listening to music, talking with a good friend, meditation or prayer.

So, dont stress about stress! Find healthy ways to deal with it and youll keep those blood sugars in check.

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Interestingly, research suggests anxiety may be tied to type 2 diabetes risk. According to a September 2016 study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, which measured levels of blood glucose and IL-6, a protein in the body that stimulates immune response and healing, found that people with with low inhibition or attention control were more likely to have type 2 diabetes.

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How Can Different Types Of Stress Affect Your Diabetes

Stress can affect people differently. The type of stress that you experience can also have an impact on your bodys physical response.

When people with type 2 diabetes are under mental stress, they generally experience an increase in their blood glucose levels. People with type 1 diabetes may have a more varied response. This means that they can experience either an increase or a decrease in their blood glucose levels.

When youre under physical stress, your blood sugar can also increase. This can happen when youre sick or injured. This can affect people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

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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?

Ways To Reduce Mental Stress

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  • 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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Identify Sources Of Stress

Being pregnant, preparing for a new baby and learning to manage gestational diabetes are stressful things on their own. But you also lead a life in the real world, with all it stresses and tensions.

Stress has many sources. Name some of your main sources of stress and see if you can identify an action to reduce or eliminate complications of gestational diabetes for you and your baby.

You might find that simply learning as much as you can about gestational diabetes will relieve much of your worry.

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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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.

If You Develop A Complication Of Diabetes

Does stress cause high blood sugars?

Developing a complication of diabetes may result in significant readjustments in your life. If it makes you less mobile, you may feel you have become more dependent on others, or you might need to shift house or jobs. If your vision is more limited, you may need to concentrate harder on achieving tasks that were previously easy. Depending on what impact the complication has on your life, you may feel a great deal of grief associated with the loss of full health.

Having diabetes is stressful. It can also mean that it is more of a challenge for us to manage other life stresses. As you become more experienced with diabetes it tends to assume a less intrusive place in your life. As you achieve a comfortable balance between caring for yourself and also having fun and enjoying your life, your stress management strategies can become more effective.

Also Check: How To Help Relieve Stress

What The Research Says

40% of people with diabetes. This prevalence is much higher than that in the general U.S. population, where the condition affects 18.1% of people.

People with diabetes are at risk of developing low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia are identical to those of anxiety.

Additionally, the results of a 2015 animal study suggest that experiencing several episodes of hypoglycemia can increase the likelihood of anxiety. The reason for this may be that hypoglycemic episodes trigger chemical and metabolic changes that physically affect the part of the brain that plays a role in processing anxiety.

Diabetes and anxiety share several symptoms. The American Diabetes Association and the National Institute of Mental Health both list the following symptoms for hypoglycemia and anxiety, respectively:

  • feeling on edge or irritable
  • difficulty focusing thoughts

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How To Reduce Your Stress Level

  • Find opportunities to rest: sit, lie down, put your feet up.
  • Talk to friends, family and your partner about your concerns and stresses.
  • Lower your expectations of yourself. The house can be messy, the laundry can fall behind and you can be less than perfect. You’re helping your baby grow and be healthy, and that’s your first priority.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Ask for help in getting tasks done. Ask a friend to drive, a sister to help set up the nursery, your partner to grocery shop. If possible, hire out tasks like yard work and house cleaning during your pregnancy.
  • Know and accept your limits. Let friends and family know that for now, you have to take special care of yourself and your baby. When you need rest. excuse yourself and go rest. When you feel overwhelmed, take on less.
  • Be physically active every day. It’s a great stress reliever.
  • Add relaxation to each day. Listen to your favorite music at work. Take a bubble bath. Close your eyes and do nothing except breathe deeply.
  • Schedule time for what you want to do. Book time on your own calendar for whatever gives you joy. Visit a museum. Do needlework. Talk long distance with a friend. Read a long novel. Sit in the garden.
  • Watch funny movies, read silly books, laugh with friends.
  • Cry if you want. It’s a great stress reliever.
  • Remind yourself that gestational diabetes isn’t forever.

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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

S To Find Out If Stress Is Affecting Your Blood Glucose Levels

The Effects of Low Blood Sugar on Your Body
  • Step 1. Rate your stress level from 1-10, where 1 indicates the lowest stress level and 10 the highest. Record the stress level along with situation and feelings in your logbook.
  • Step 2. Test your blood glucose and record your result.
  • Step 3. After a week or two, study your results to see if theres any pattern between your stress levels and your blood glucose levels.

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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.

Can Stress Cause Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is a pregnancy-related form of diabetes that can occur suddenly during pregnancy.

Its risk factors are similar to other forms of diabetes, including a previous history or family history with the disease, problems with diet and exercise, poor sleep, obesity, or preexisting high blood glucose.

However, gestational diabetes has been noted to compound with the already-existing stress of pregnancy to create an unfortunate feedback loop.

For example, one study found that women diagnosed with GDM had a notably increased incidence of depression, and were more likely to report undergoing stressful situations and life events. So GDM its diagnosis, management, and physical toll leads to more stress.

In addition, other studies found that high levels of stress also raised blood glucose considerably in people with GDM. So not only did GDM cause stress, but that stress then worsened the symptoms of GDM.

If youre concerned about your stress levels or overall health, it might be worth reaching out to your doctor if youre thinking about getting pregnant, to help prepare yourself as best as possible for pregnancy.

However, in the case that youre dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, or currently dealing with GDM, the good news is that some small changes can turn this negative GDM feedback loop into a positive one.

Be sure to read our definitive guide to gestational diabetes to get a comprehensive overview of how to prevent and reverse it.

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If My A1c Is Normal My Glucose Is Good

An A1C result thatâs below 5.7% is normal âs standards, but having a result below that number isnât the end of the story. Pregnancy, hemoglobin variants, anemia, liver disease, and certain medications can cause inaccurate A1C results.

Additionally, the A1C test is measuring your average glucose value over the past 3 months, but averages inherently do not capture highs and lows. So, you could have a normal average while also having abnormal glucose spikes. The A1C test should only supplement your regular blood sugar testing, not replace it completely.

Clobber Stress And Cortisol At The Same Time

What damage can high blood sugar and oxidative stress cause?

Of course, not everyone finds it easy to de-stress on their own. For some of us, any attempt at mindfulness leads to a wandering mind. And a wandering mind can lead to more stress if it wanders off to the WRONG place .

So, fortunately, there are some other ways to help reign in cortisol quickly and easily.

Here are three of my favorites:

  • Walking: Yeah, it really is that simple. A peaceful stroll through the park just might be natures most potent stress reliever. In one small study, a 10-minute walk three times a week cut cortisol by 3 percent.
  • Ashwagandha: Its a funny name, I know. But this powerful herbal remedy has been used for centuries in India for its many health benefits. And modern science shows it can help CUT overall stress, FIGHT anxiety, and SLASH cortisol. It even matched the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam in one study.
  • Vitamin C: Its probably the worlds most well-known nutrient. The only problem is despite its stellar reputation, most folks dont get nearly enough of it. When you do, however, amazing things happen including stress-reduction. In one study, 1000 mg per day cut both cortisol and blood pressure when volunteers were placed in stressful situations. If 1000 mg all at once makes you a little gassy, try splitting into two or three smaller doses taken at different times of the day.

Gently drive down your stress hormones, and your blood sugar is sure to follow.

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Stress And Blood Sugar Spikes

Stress causes higher blood sugar levels. To deal with the unwelcome feelings that stress brings, you may indulge in unhelpful behaviors and make the problem worse.

Do you crave ice cream, cookies, or greasy takeout after a stressful day? Turning to comfort foods feels reassuring at the moment, but they can be high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, or trans fats.

Ultra-processed foods made with added sugars and refined carbs provide a rush of energy, which gives you a temporary high, followed by a sugar crash. This repeated spiking of your blood sugar leads to more sugar cravings and creates a vicious cycle of eating sugary foods to cope with your stress.

The same area of your brain that controls the cortisol levels, called your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, also balances your sleep patterns. Higher levels of cortisol can lead to poor quality sleep. Astudy on healthy young adults< sup> 5< /sup> revealed a possible link between sleep deprivation and glucose intolerance.

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.

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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.

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