The Wrong Way To Deal With Stress When You Have Diabetes
Food, alcohol, self-pity: These unhealthy coping mechanisms do more harm than good. When were stressed out, we turn to unhealthy food comfort food and we may start eating a lot of sweets, Belfort De Aguiar says. These are the wrong ways to cope with stress.
Also, find ways to reach out and find social connection with your loved ones. Campbell also warns against keeping your emotions bottled up inside. Be sure to share your stress, she says, even it just means having someone listen to you vent.
For more on dealing with diabetes burnout, check out Diabetes Daily’s article “How to Get Out of a Diabetes Rut“!
Can Diabetes Cause Anxiety And Depression
If youre diabetic and having an anxiety attack or going through depression, your high sugar levels could possibly be the culprit behind it. Diabetes and anxiety may have different aetiologies, however, they are interconnected somehow.
Diabetic people may become worried or anxious over various things. From waking up in the morning and monitoring your glucose levels, to weight changes and diet, diabetes can really stress you out.
Since diabetes is a chronic disease and managing can become a hassle, one can get anxious about short-term as well as long-term health complications.
A diabetic person is more prone to infections, kidney diseases, stroke, and many other debilitating conditions, he/she can develop severe anxiety. This can eventually make monitoring and managing his/ her symptoms more challenging.
To manage stress due to struggling with diabetes, you need to follow healthy lifestyle options such as diet, physical exercise, and other stress-relieving activities.
This chronic disease, diabetes could also be a risk factor for developing depression, found out in some studies. Its still not completely understood why this happens.
What Causes Blood Sugar To Rise In Non
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of the Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences.
High blood sugar or glucose, also called hyperglycemia, occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. High blood sugar is the primary symptom that underlies diabetes, but it can also occur in people who dont have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, either because of stress or trauma, or gradually as a result of certain chronic conditions.
It is important to manage high blood sugar, even if you dont have diabetes, because elevated blood glucose can delay your ability to heal, increase your risk of infections, and cause irreversible damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs, such as your eyes and kidneys. Blood vessel damage from high blood sugar also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
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Sudden Rise In Blood Sugars
Even under normal conditions, blood sugar levels vary throughout the day, but a sudden rise in blood sugar can be alarming. Stress or illness may cause blood sugar levels to rise suddenly. If you have diabetes, a sudden rise may involve diet or medication. Knowing the cause can help you better manage blood sugar and improve overall health.
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:
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How Does Cortisol Affect Your Blood Sugar
Not only can cortisol contribute to unwanted high blood sugars, but its also essential for treating low blood sugars, too. Lets take a look.
When cortisol levels are high
When cortisol production increases beyond a healthy baseline, it blunts your bodys sensitivity to insulin. This means you need more insulin during those hours in order to keep your blood sugar in your goal range.
While your body does produce cortisol 24 hours a day, there are certain times of day anyone can expect to be producing more, like first the thing in the morning.
If you manage your diabetes with insulin, this also explains why you may notice that you need more insulin in the earliest hours of the day, and with breakfast.
As soon as you wake up in the morning, your body produces a surge of cortisol, explains the Society for Endocrinology. This surge is critical for simply starting your day and functioning fully now that you are awake!
And if your overall baseline cortisol needs increase due to constant, ongoing stress, youll notice that your baseline insulin needs increase, too.
You can read the post How to Avoid High Morning Blood Sugars for more information and practical tips for dealing with morning highs.
When cortisol levels are low
On the flip side, without enough or any cortisol you would struggle with constant hypoglycemia .
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.
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Can Stress Affect My Blood Sugar Levels
There are several ways that stress may affect your blood sugar levels. Stress induces the well-known fight-or-flight response, in which your body increases its levels of certain stress hormones. These, in turn, cause a rise in the amount of sugar in your blood, where it’s available to be used by your cells as fuel. If your body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it has in order to get that blood sugar into your cells, your blood sugar levels remain high. Stress may also indirectly increase your blood sugar levels by causing you to abandon your good habits. When stressed, you may not eat well or exercise regularly, or you may drink more alcohol. These habits can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. In addition, you may not take time to check your blood glucose levels as often when you are stressed, so you may not be aware of the effects that the stress is having on your blood sugar levels. If you feel that stress is affecting your diabetes, talk to your doctor.
Stress And Insulin Resistance
If youre always bombarded with stress, your body will numb itself to insulin, the hormone that essentially helps bring blood sugar levels down.
In other words, not only will your body produce more blood sugar, but the existing blood sugar wont be absorbed in cells due to insulin resistance.
Instead, it will stay floating in your blood.
Long-term, this puts a strain on your pancreas and other organs. And can lead to the health issues we mentioned above.
So what can you do to control stress and your blood sugar levels with it?
Below we explain exactly that.
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How Does Various Stress Impact Your Diabetes
Stress may have a different effect on people. The sort of stress you encounter will also influence the physical reaction of your body.When individuals with type 2 diabetes suffer from emotional fatigue, their blood sugar levels normally rise. Individuals with type 1 disease may have a different reaction. This means that you can either raise your blood glucose levels or decrease them.Your blood sugar will also rise when you are under physical stress. This will occur whether youre ill or sick. This will affect patients suffering from diabetes type 1 or type 2.
Stress In People With Type 2 Diabetes
For people with type 2 diabetes, high levels of stress can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels. When there is a high level of cortisol in the body, it causes body tissues to be less sensitive to insulin. Therefore, more blood sugar is available in the bloodstream. When this happens, blood sugar levels become imbalanced and can reach dangerously high levels, especially if it is left untreated.
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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.
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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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.
What Happens In Your Body When You Get Stressed
Stress hormones have a big role to play.
When youre experiencing physical or emotional stress, hormones are released that increase your blood sugar. Cortisol and adrenaline are other primary hormones involved.
This is a perfectly natural response. For example, if youre being chased by a barking dog or youre in a dangerous situation, you need these hormones to prepare your body for a fight or flight situation.
But when youre stressed, your body releases these hormones, even if there isnt a major physical threat involved.
The result? Higher blood pressure, increased heart rate and a rise in blood sugar.
The problem becomes more complicated.
If youre consistently under stress, your hormones and sugar will continue to surge.
Over time, this can put you at risk for:
- Heart disease
This is one reason why its so important to treat your stress and anxiety.
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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
Difference Between Panic Attack And Low Blood Sugar
When youre feeling unwell and lightheaded, how you can tell if its because of low blood sugar or youre having a panic attack? It can be quite confusing.
Both these conditions can manifest with the same symptoms, which can lead to a common misdiagnosis. Some diabetics tend to confuse their symptoms with a panic attack, which might be actually due to hypoglycemia.
When a person feels unwell, lightheaded, sweaty, and has an increased heart rate, he might think its a panic attack. However, this is not only the case every time. Low blood sugar is another cause of these symptoms.
How to differentiate between them? Lets discuss them individually.
Panic Attack- this is usually an attack of sudden intense fear and anxiety. It can happen due to any stressful situation such as bereavement or sometimes without any apparent cause.
Low Blood Sugar- this condition, also known as hypoglycemia, occurs when your blood glucose level drops to a very low level. It can have various causing factors, such as skipping a meal, intense physical activity, etc.
While they both have different causes and factors, symptoms such as trembling, sweating, racing heartbeat, dizziness, etc. are common in both. They both tend to drain the energy out of a person, leaving them helpless.
An important characteristic that can differentiate between them is that blood sugar level fluctuates with diet and the symptoms of hypoglycemia can reverse.
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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.
Diabetes And Types Of Stress
According to a 2010 research report, people, who suffer from depression anxiety, fatigue, or a mixture of these factors are more likely to develop diabetes.
The researchers discovered that a persons risk of contracting diabetes can be increased by a variety of stress factors including:
- Life experiences that are upsetting or painful
- general emotional tension
- sleep deprivation
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How Can Pain Affect Blood Sugar In People With Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus , often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from the bodys inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism . There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.Continue reading > >
Stress Affects Your Blood Pressure
Letâs go back to the hormone cortisol for a moment. Another one of cortisolâs functions is to narrow the arteries throughout the body in order to allow blood to pump harder and faster through the rest of the body. In fight-or-flight situations, this is advantageous because delivery of oxygenated blood throughout the body.However, constant stress over time keeps the blood vessels constricted and keeps your blood pressure high. Over time this high blood pressure can worsen many of the complications of diabetes, including diabetic eye disease and kidney disease. In fact, many people with diabetes eventually develop high blood pressure.It is no wonder that diabetes and hypertension often go hand-in-hand. Looking out for one can help prevent or alleviate the other.
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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.
How To Combat Stress
So how can you reduce stress so that it has less of an effect on your blood sugar control?
Well, to some extent that depends on the nature of your stress. Anything in life that is stressing you out thats fixable, you should work to fix. That stupid toilet that runs all night and disturbs your sleep? Get it repaired. Thats easy. But sometimes its harder: The boyfriend or girlfriend who always puts you down? Time to break up. Not all that easy to do, although it will improve your health on multiple levels.
Meanwhile, things that stress you out that you cant fix, but that you can avoid, you should avoid. Your sister drives you nuts? Youre not required to visit her, you know.
Lastly, of course, there are things in life that you cant fix and you cant avoid, and these you need to develop ways to deal with. Sometimes this involves changing your mental attitude toward it. Other times its the use of stress-relief tools, like exercise to burn off that fight or flight sugar, or hot baths and aroma therapy candles to drown the stress so that your body stops releasing the sugar.
Some of the most tried-and-true stress relief tactics are:
- Exercise of any kind
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