Concerned That Stress Is Affecting Your Well
As we saw with GDM, the combination of stress and diabetes can be a negative feedback loop. When your physical and behavioral response to stress helps cause diabetes, which causes more stress, its easy to feel helpless.
Fortunately, it just takes one small shift in gears to make a big change. This is because many of the same habits that can help provide long-term relief from stress also help reduce insulin resistance and increase your overall health.
Exercise is one excellent example. A low-fat, plant-based, whole food diet thats high in whole carbohydrates is another. Losing weight through dietary plans like intermittent fasting is a third.
This is without even adding tactics like getting enough sleep, finding time to relax, spending more time outdoors, and many other strategies that have been proven to help control and reduce stress.
If youre currently struggling with stress and diabetes, you might be able to learn from the Mastering Diabetes Method, which is proven to reverse insulin resistance and improve your physical health in the long term.
With this method and the guidance and support of our coaches, if youd like it, you can work on the physical side of stress, and ensure that your body and brain are as healthy as they can be.
Stress In People With Type 1 Diabetes
Stress can affect those with type 1 diabetes by both increasing and decreasing blood sugar. In the case where it lowers blood sugar levels, chronic stress can lead to a syndrome known as adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is where prolonged exposure to stress drains the adrenal glands, leading to a low cortisol state. In those with type 1 diabetes, the underproduction of hormones such as cortisol can cause an imbalance in hormones that are meant to regulate blood sugar levels.
Research has also looked at whether stress can cause diabetes. Many studies have postulated that chronic stress especially can contribute to the onset of type 1 diabetes in those who are already susceptible to developing it.
Shortness of breath
How Does Stress Affect Diabetes
Scientists first suggested a connection between stress and diabetes as early as the 17th century. It seems that there are both direct and indirect links between the two. So, how does stress affect diabetes?
In this article, we explore the relationship between stress and diabetes and explain what to do to help.
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Diabetes Stress Management Techniques
So we have established that diabetes can cause stress, but maybe its not diabetes but life, in general, raising your blood glucose through stress.
Fear not there are things you can do to help relieve stress or anxiety and improve management of your diabetes. First, find out what is causing your stress!
Most people have at least an inkling but are afraid to face the issue. If it is something big, like health or relationship worries, a good starting point is to talk to your doctor. They can address your physical health concerns or refer you to a counselor for a relationship or mental health concerns.
For financial problems, dont bury your head in the sand. Seek help from your banker or one of the many specialist organizations and charities who can help you take control of debt.
Maybe your issue is something you can sort out relatively easily by yourself. If so, make this a priority all too often stress-inducing situations grow out of control because it seems easier to ignore them and hope they goes away.
An example of this is an untidy home or office. It sounds so silly, but if piles of paperwork or mail/email building up make you anxious, set time aside to tackle them.
If a work or home project has grown out of your control, ask or pay for help if possible. Or stop and work out a way of making it manageable without adding stress.
Coping With the Day-To-Day
Other quick tips you can follow to beat stress:
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Commonly Overlooked Symptoms Of Stress
The one thing that a lot of people dont realize is that stress can manifest itself through different symptoms. Many people assume that stress only leads to anxious feelings or periodic moments of overwhelm, but stress can create physical, mental, and even behavioral changes.
Stress can manifest itself in the form of headaches, pain, tension, exhaustion, illness, oversleeping, and not sleeping enough. You may notice that stress causes you to feel irritable or depressed, or you may become so overwhelmed that you lose the motivation to do anything about it. In other people, stress can create restlessness and anxiety. Its different for everyone, which is why its important to try and be present with your feelings so you can better understand how to process them.
When people become so overwhelmed with stress, it may even lead to behavioral changes. Sometimes stress can lead to depression, which causes people to withdraw from their friends, family, and things that they usually love doing. They may begin drinking, smoking, or even using drugs in an effort to negate feelings of stress. Some people binge, while others avoid eating at all. When you think about all of the negative aspects of stress, its surprising that we dont do more to try and manage it.
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Does Stress Cause Diabetes Symptom Flare
People with diabetes have to deal with the same everyday stresses that everyone experiences. However, they have the added pressure of having to monitor their blood sugar regularly, watch their diets and possibly take daily medication. Furthermore, being diagnosed with a chronic health condition can be extremely stressful in itself.
Some people find this difficult to cope with and may experience something known as diabetes distress. It could cause them to neglect their diabetes care for example, not checking their blood sugar, exercising regularly, or eating the right foods. Increased alcohol and tobacco use can also have a negative impact.
Therefore, it is essential that people with diabetes find effective stress-management techniques to avoid raising their blood sugar and risking future complications.
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.
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What Is The Fight
The fight-freeze or flight response is an evolutionary coping mechanism enabling us to deal with threats and stressful situations.
When confronted by a threat, hormones are released that help us get ready to either fight the threat or fuel a quick escape. There is an increase in glucose for energy, increased blood pressure to take fresh oxygen to working muscles, and the release of adrenalin for heightened vigilance and alertness.
The freeze factor has been introduced in recent years as theories have been put forward as to why people sometimes freeze in a hopeless, shocking situation. It is possible that this rabbit in headlights reaction is similar to playing dead, which could have helped our ancestors avoid attacks in the wild.
Modern humans have fewer physical threats, but when faced with psychological pressures such as getting stuck in traffic, the brain and body still behaves in the same manner as when faced with a physical threat .
However, in people with diabetes this instinctive response does not work as well. Insulin is needed to get stored energy into the bodys cells. But in people who have diabetes, this process is hampered as insulin is either not produced or not used effectively , resulting in the build-up of excess glucose in the bloodstream.
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.
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Follow These Steps To Find Out If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Affected By Mental Stress:
Keeping Your Blood Sugar Under Control During Anxiety: Raleigh Medical Group Can Help
This is a team effort.
Dont feel you have to go it alone.
For decades weve been the provider of choice in the Raleigh, Cary and Triangle areas. Our experienced, compassionate physicians and health care team are ready to guide you toward the healthiest life possible.
Scheduling an appointment is easyand now we even offer convenient telehealth appointments.
Dont let stress ruin your health. Contact us today.
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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.
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.
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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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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.
How Does Exercise Help With Stress
Research studies, including one from Maastricht University in 2000, show that physical activity can increase insulin sensitivity and help to lower blood glucose levels, as well as burn calories.
In the UK, the NHS advise to build up to 150 minutes of aerobic activity, such as jogging or brisk walking, each week.
Moving your body through a wide range of motions can also give the mind a rest from the pressures of everyday life. Some people find this relaxing as the mind is preoccupied with exercising rather than worrying about any problems in life.
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How Stress Affects Diabetes
Stress causes a buildup in stress hormones found within the body. When your body is under stress, it can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Because insulin is used to regulate sugar levels in the body, when the body is under a lot of stress, it may leave the insulin ineffective.
When you experience stress, sugar is excreted from the blood, as the body uses sugar to provide it with a boost of energy, which is produced by the body naturally. This boost of energy was effective many years ago when the body used this response to get out of dangerous situations. While some situations do require the fight or flight response, it is seldom needed in the everyday stressful situations we face now, yet the body still acts naturally.
When you do not have diabetes, the blood sugar rise is quickly maintained by the body, but when diabetes, your body has a hard time getting your sugar levels back down to the normal level.
Can Stress Cause Diabetes
Researchers have linked stress, anxiety, depression, sleep problems and anger with an increased risk of diabetes. However, many believe that it is not a direct cause.
Chronic stress can cause people to alter their behavior and lifestyles. For example, they may eat unhealthy food, exercise less, or increase their alcohol or tobacco use. All of these factors could potentially contribute to diabetes development in the long run.
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Insulin Resistance Can Increase
The role of the hormone insulin is to allow glucose to get out of the bloodstream and into certain cells that either need glucose or can store it. Beta cells in the pancreas release insulin into the bloodstream when blood sugar levels are high, such as after a meal with carbohydrates or during the stress response. With regular testing and insights from Lark, you may notice certain patterns in terms of when your blood sugar tends to be up.
In type 2 diabetes, the body has insulin resistance, which means more insulin is necessary to clear the same amount of glucose from the blood. In early and mid stages of type 2 diabetes, there is a high level of insulin in the body compared to someone without diabetes. Insulin resistance can develop when glucose is repeatedly high so a lot of insulin is repeatedly needed. This can happen over time during weight gain, since excess carbohydrates increase blood sugar, and during the chronic stress response, when blood sugar levels repeatedly increase as cortisol acts.