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.
What Increases My Risk For Nondiabetic Hyperglycemia
- A medical condition such as Cushing syndrome or polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Surgery or trauma, such as a burn or injury
- Infections, such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection
- Certain medicines, such as steroids or diuretics
- Nutrition given through a feeding tube or IV
- A family history of diabetes or gestational diabetes
- Obesity or a lack of physical activity
Stay Organized To Improve Your A1c And Lower Stress
Staying organized about all the aspects of your care doctors appointments, at-home blood-glucose monitoring, medication schedules can help with overall diabetes management. According to past research, maintaining solid organizational practices are linked to lower chronic cortisol levels, and finding a diabetes-management routine that works for you will also reduce the risk of health complications.
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Keep A Close Eye On Your Blood Sugar Levels
Its always important to keep tabs on your stress and blood sugar. Thats why we recommend a fasting blood sugar test at every yearly physical.If your blood sugar starts to creep upwards, we can be proactive and start measures to help you.
This is particularly important if you have diabetes or prediabetes. In fact, if you have these conditions, we may suggest that you have blood sugar screenings more often. We can guide you through when you should check your blood sugar, and our dietitian can help you select healthy meals.
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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Can Stress And Anxiety Raise Blood Sugar Levels
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?
Diabetes & Stress: How Stress Affects Your Blood Sugar
Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. And stress can have a drastic effect on your blood sugar both immediately and in the long run.
Even the fun stress of a roller coaster ride triggers an increased production of hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon. Without these hormones, your body couldnt complete the task of grocery shopping, let alone endure a heated argument with your mother.
In this article, well look at the role of cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon, and how each of these stress-related hormones can affect your blood sugar.
At the end of the post, we will summarize how all of this comes together to impact the day-to-day lives of people living with diabetes, and what you can do to reduce stress in your daily life.
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Remove Or Minimize The Source Of Stress
Time management and organizational techniques may reduce small stressorsthat often compound until a crescendo is reached. Self-helpbooks,may be useful for patients to find successful ways to put structure in theirlives and manage their time and life stressors. Minimizing the source ofstress is helpful. For example, if repetitive noise at work is causing stress,one solution could be substituting white noise for the repetitive noise bysoftly playing relaxing classical music. Setting up a meeting with theemployer or coworkers to get help with ones workload may also alleviatestress. Often, the most difficult challenge is actually identifying the sourceof stress and separating that source from the responses to stress. Effectiveproblem-solving strategies are important for minimizing the source ofstress.
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How Do I Know Whether Stress Is Affecting My Glycemic Control
A simple way to do this is to rate your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10 every time you test your blood sugar levels. Make a note of this number and next to it write down your glucose reading.
By doing this consistently for a few weeks, a pattern should emerge that allows you to see whether high levels of stress coincide with high glucose levels, or vice versa.
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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.
How Does Anxiety Affect Blood Sugar Levels
You might think that spikes in blood sugar levels are only problems for those with diabetes, since they have problems with insulin secretion or use, although you might be surprised to find out that huge emotional stress that leads to anxiety can be the cause of blood sugar spike in non-diabetic population. The good news is, the spike is temporary most of the time, caused by overproduction of stress hormones and not by any kind of chronic metabolic abnormality.
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of studies researching this topic, although the mechanism behind heightened blood sugar levels in response to stress is well-understood.
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How To Manage Your Stress Levels
Some forms of stress cannot be managed, especially if they are not frequent in nature such as a one-time traumatic event or an accidental injury. Other types of stress, such as taking care of family, work stressors, or any other day-to-day stressful situations, will likely be there permanently or semipermanently. These types of stressful events are the ones that need to be managed as best you can.
To do this, you can proactively plan ahead. This means being prepared for the regular stressors of life and managing your time, reading self-help books, or minimizing the source of stress as much as possible. Calming exercises such as yoga and meditation have also been proven to reduce stress levels. You will also want to avoid indulging in unhealthy behaviors such as overeating. It may seem comforting at the time, but it will not help to relieve the stress you are experiencing.
Setting realistic and manageable goals is also a big stress reducer for those with diabetes. Instead of focusing on a large and vague goal such as losing weight, setting a goal of walking for at least a half-hour every day on specific days of the week will be much more achievable.
What Medications Can Raise Blood Sugar Levels
Many prescription medications and some OTC medications raise blood sugar levels, but this does not mean they can not be taken if they are needed. You must work with your doctor on the correct way to use them. Some prescription medicines that increase blood sugar levels are steroids, birth control pills, statins, drugs that treat mental health issues, medication for acne, and high doses of asthma medicines. Some OTC medicines that increase blood sugar levels include decongestants and cough syrups.
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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.
Seek Support In Reducing Stress
Living with type 2 diabetes can be intrinsically stressful. Called diabetes burnout, overwhelm and fatigue caused by blood sugar testing, carb-counting, insulin administration, doctor visits, and other facets of diabetes management can negatively affect both physical and emotional health, according to the ADA.
Take advantage of your support circle. A family member, friend, or other source of support who will listen to you can make a big difference in the way you manage stress, Campbell says, adding, You can also talk to a counselor or join an online support community. The ADA recommends diabetes support groups as a way to connect with people who understand what youre going through and to share management and coping advice. Check out The ADA Mental Health Provider Referral Directory to find nearby groups that, when the pandemic is over, you can join in person.
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How Stress Affects Type 2 Diabetes
No one lives a stress free life. Stress, both mental and physical can affect type 2 diabetics in several ways. This is mostly because of how stress affects blood sugar levels in the body, which has implications for type 2 diabetics. Read on to discover how to accurately track your own stress levels and the impact to your blood sugar levels. Maintaining a good understanding of stress and how to manage it with your diabetes is an often overlooked factor in good health.
We will discuss here, the two types of stress, physical and mental, how it affects blood sugar levels. Then Ill tell you how to know how your stress is affecting your blood sugar and then finally, what exactly you can do about it.
What To Do If You Have A Blood Sugar Spike
For those with diabetes, having a blood sugar spike can be dangerous because too much sugar in the blood passes into the urine. This triggers the body to filter out the fluid, which could lead to dehydration or a diabetic coma.
In the event that blood sugar levels spike because of stressors that cannot be managed, its vital to make managing your blood glucose a priority. You can do this by focusing on things you can control, such as your diet and exercise, checking your blood sugar regularly, and taking your medications as instructed by your physician.
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How To Realize That You Are Under Stress
As discussed above, it is very important to manage stress in our day to day lives. The root cause of most of the unhealthy habits is stress in people. However, the problem aggravates when you are a diabetes patient. In type 1 and type 2 diabetes, therefore, it is of utmost importance that you realize you are under stress. Only after this realization can you take necessary steps and release yourself from the same. The majority of us realize that when either we ourselves or any of our family members are under stress when they are suffering from some illness. However, stress can take place from a hectic schedule and during holidays as well. Hence, one of the effective ways is to just notice the level of stress and jotting the same down in a piece of paper while you are checking the blood glucose levels. This is usually how a few patients recognize the effect on the blood sugar levels owing to stress.
Triggers Could Be Tricky
Life changing situations or a big situation are obvious triggers of stress. Stress can be more difficult to identify if the cause is a buildup of many smaller events. Having too much going on does not mean you are stressed. On the contrary, not having enough work, activities or change in your life are all factors that may cause stress. Constantly worrying or feeling that you do not have control over a situation can also cause stress3.
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Can Surgery Cause Increased Blood Sugar In Non
-Any surgery acts as a physical stress for the body. -The body gears up for a speedy recovery and during this period, our body mobilizes energy i.e. glucose to overcome this stress. -Certain hormones too are released to overcome this stress. Among many others like cortisol, these hormones include insulin and glucagon, both of which work in combination to maintain our blood sugar levels within the normal range. -This increased mobilization of glucose as a stress response and increased release of hormones can result in an imbalance of sugar level and thus, increase blood sugars . -This is usually managed without medicines, as glucose levels come down within the normal range in a few hours to days. But, in case of diabetic patients insulin needs to be administered for controlling it.Continue reading > >
Dopamine And The Glucose Effect
Glucose, or blood sugar, is the simplest of the carbohydrates. It is also essential for human survival. Glucose acts as the primary source of energy for every cell in the body, and the brain depends on it. An even supply of glucose keeps the brain functioning in a balanced way.
However, consuming too much added sugar may lead to increased irritability and peaks and drops in energy levels. Although the initial intake of sugar may feel positive, it will cause blood glucose levels to drop. It is this that affects the mind and body so dramatically.
For some people, however, sugar can be incredibly addictive. When a person consumes sugar, the mesolimbic dopamine system in the brain offers a reward, thereby increasing mood. The dopamine system starts working when feelings of pleasure approach.
Because these are added sugars, however, they are not beneficial to the body in any way. A high intake of these will mean chemical changes in the body. These occur to prevent overstimulation, so the body may crave more sugar on future occasions to achieve the same high mood.
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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.
Is It Only Negative Stress That Affects Blood Sugar
Even positive life changes can cause blood sugar to swing, says Amy Campbell, RD, a certified diabetes care and education specialist, and a contributor to DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Planning a wedding, moving to a new city, getting a job promotion such happy stressors can also send your fight-or-flight hormones into overdrive.
A past review cited the definition of stress as the physiological or psychological response to an external stimulus, regardless of whether that stimulus is good or bad. That means that if you experience a significant change in your life whether its positive or negative its a good idea to keep an extra-close watch on your blood sugar.
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Stress Contributes To Insulin Resistance
Cortisol also makes it more difficult for the pancreas to secrete insulin, which is needed to move sugar out of the blood and into the cells for energy, stabilizing the concentration of sugar within your blood. Over time, the pancreas struggles to keep up with the high demand for insulin. Glucose levels in the blood remain high. Cells cannot get the sugar they need and the cycle continues.This all contributes to insulin resistanceâwhich youâre already fighting againstâand may worsen your condition
Ways To Reduce Mental Stress3
- Learn how to relax during stressful moments by using deep-breathing exercises.
- Evaluate your schedule to find how to make changes to relieve stress.
- Exercise regularly and take regular outdoor walks to experience nature, which generally has a soothing effect on the body and soul.
It is important to understand what stress is and how it effects your body. By identfiying and actively finding healthy ways to overcome your stress triggers, you can help to improve your diabetes management.
References1. Glucerna.How Stress Affects Blood Sugar Levels 2020. Abbott Laboratories. Available at: https://glucerna.com/why-glucerna/how-stress-affects-blood-sugar-levels..2. Diabetes UK. Stress And Blood Glucose-Levels.2019. Diabetes Digital Media. Available at: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/stress-and-blood-glucose-levels.html .3. Mind Organisation. Stress. 1st ed. London: Mind publications, p.1-15. 2017. Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/2959/stress-2017.pdf .
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