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.
Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Sleep Problems
Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, can cause sleep problems. Hypoglycemia can occur in people with or without diabetes. Nocturnal hypoglycemia is a form of hypoglycemia that occurs at night.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, low blood sugar during sleep can cause the following symptoms:
If You Develop A Complication Of Diabetes
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.
The Diabetes NZ Emotional Wellbeing Survey 2020 found 81% of people living with diabetes have experienced diabetes distress.
Diabetes distress is the emotional burden of living with and managing diabetes. Diabetes is a relentless, 24/7 condition that can have a real impact on mental and emotional wellbeing. Every minute of every day, a person with diabetes faces decisions and thoughts, which can create worries and fears about their diabetes.
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How Stress Affects Blood Sugar
Research studies have connected many different physical conditions to having too much stress. Things like chronic fatigue syndrome and obesity have been linked to increased stress levels. It turns out that stress has an impact on blood sugar levels, which has great implications for those suffering from diabetes.
People under increased levels of stress are suffering from a heightened fight or flight response. This causes the adrenal glands to put out norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol when exposed to the stressor. The stomach knots up, the respiratory rate is faster, and the heart rate is faster. The cortisol released by the adrenal cortex causes elevated blood sugar levels in an attempt to provide cellular fuel if the body actually needs to go into fighting or fleeing.
If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, it means that your bodys cells are insulin resistant. The rise in glucose that comes from stress and cortisol release isnt managed well and the blood sugar has no place to go. It means that the blood sugar levels will be too high.
Enroll In An Exercise Class
Is the word exercise just making you think again? Well, you could always opt for other forms of exercise like rockclimbing, fencing, dance or Zumba. As long as you get your body moving, you will get a great cardiovascular workout. This is proven to be just as effective as depression medication. Feel free to move around, that is sure to keep you healthy.
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Blood Sugar Level Charts For People With Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most non-pregnant adults with diabetes:
|Type of patient|
Children, teens, and adolescents with diabetes should aim to keep within these ranges:
|6-12 years old|
The A1c test looks at how good your blood glucose control has been over a period of 3 months. These values are a guide. Your doctor will provide you with a personal management plan.
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Why Reducing Stress Can Help You Prevent Diabetes
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In the past few decades, weve become increasingly aware of the fact that emotional stress can have a very potent physical effect.
Combined with the most stressful year in a century thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, economic downturn, travel restrictions, and more complications all on top of the usual stressors of life, its perfectly natural to take stock of your overall stress level and how its affecting you.
In this article, well explore one particular area of concern stresss relationship with diabetes and discuss how now and after the COVID pandemic, you can take a few key steps to prevent stress from affecting your physical and mental health.
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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.
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 it’s positive or negative its a good idea to keep an extra-close watch on your blood sugar.
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Does Stress Affect Blood Sugar Levels
So exactly how does emotional stress affect blood glucose levels?
When you have diabetes, stress has an impact on the way that your body is able to use insulin. Having diabetes means that the cells within your body dont react the way that they should to the production of hormones.
As a result of this, you lose insulin production. When you throw stress into the mixture, it also adds to the insulin resistance that your body experiences.
On top of that, the same reaction to stress thats causing your cells to not be able to react properly to insulin also makes your blood glucose numbers go higher than they should.
When this happens, you can experience swings in your glucose. Stress makes your body undergo many different changes.
Your blood gets pumping because your heart rate increases and you can stay in this state of elevated glucose levels until either the stress is dealt with or you add or increase medication.
Does Emotional Stress Affect Blood Glucose Levels
Studies are relatively clear on the fact emotional stress raises your blood glucose in the short term.
This happens because elevated emotional stress levels can elicit a biological fight-or-flight response. Then, your body releases cortisol that increases your blood glucose so that you have energy available to survive.
In the case of chronic stress, this process happens again and again, which can be very damaging for both your mental health and your immune system.
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Stress And Glucose Levels
What came first, the chicken or the egg? Were not really sure, but we know both exist today.
Similarly, many people find themselves experiencing both high levels of stress and lower metabolic function.
In short, stress will indirectly cause our glucose levels to rise. Several studies have linked a significant correlation between perceived work-related stress and increased levels of circulating glucose. Chronically high blood glucose levels can cause our body to become resistant to insulin, the hormone that helps our cells use glucose. Insulin is also known to elevate cortisol and epinephrine, hormones associated with the stress response.
In turn, elevated stress can raise glucose levels, putting many in an unpleasant vicious cycle. The stress can push us to overeat, which raises our glucose levels, which leads to us to suffer from notable fatigue and low energy levels. Our response to excessive feelings of fatigue often is you guessed it, becoming more stressed.
So, this vicious cycle leaves us with raised cortisol and glucose levels, and at a lack of focus due to decreased metabolic function. Stress can also impact other metabolic regulating processes such as sleep, further compounding the negative effects were experiencing.
Chronic stress can also impact our bodys ability to utilize its available glucose. In mice, acute psychological stress leads to substantially reduced clearance of glucose after a glucose load and acute insulin resistance.
Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene Can Improve Glycemic Control
The best thing you can do to keep your blood sugar levels within a steady range is to establish a routine for your diet, exercise, and sleep patterns. If you find yourself having trouble sleeping, consider your sleep hygiene practices. The following tips can help you get a better night of sleep and thus experience improved glycemic control:
If you have tried improving your sleep hygiene but still have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling well rested in the morning, a sleep disorder may be to blame.
Visiting a sleep specialist is the best way to ensure that your sleep problems do not go undetected. This is particularly important for people with diabetes or prediabetes, as getting a good night of rest is essential to metabolic functioning, proper endocrine system regulation, and good glycemic control.
Make an appointment with your Seattle sleep specialist for an accurate diagnosis and to understand how sleep may impact your medical health. Call Sound Sleep Health at 279-7151 today!
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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?
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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What Happens When Your Cortisol Stays High
If youre under constant stress, your cortisol levels will stay high.
And so will your blood sugar levels.
Can you guess the impact this has on your health?
Chronically high cortisol can lead to a host of diseases and health problems, including :
But this isnt the only issue.
Another problem that chronically high cortisol can cause is insulin resistance.
What does this mean for you?
Orthopaedic Trauma And Non
Karunakar et al., did a study to analyze the effect of stress hyperglycemia on infectious complications in orthopaedic trauma patients. They divided them into two subgroups based on mean serum glucose greater than 220 mg/dl 3.0 or greater) and concluded that mean perioperative glucose levels greater than 220 mg/dl were associated with a seven times higher risk of infection in orthopaedic trauma patients with no known history of diabetes mellitus .
Chen et al., carried out a prospective observational analysis of 1,257 consecutive patients with no history of diabetes who suffered hip fractures. They measured fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin. They divided all the patients into stress hyperglycemia and non-hyperglycemia groups according to their FBG, and recorded incidence of acute myocardial infarction . Among the patients enrolled, the frequency of stress hyperglycemia was 47.89% and that of AMI was 9.31% and the occurrence of AMI in the SIH group was higher than in the non-hyperglycemia group. The authors concluded that SIH after hip fracture increased the risk of AMI .
Richards et al., studied the relationship of SIH and surgical site infections. They studied 790 patients with orthopaedics injuries who required operative intervention. They found that hyperglycemia with blood glucose levels 200mg/dl and HGI 1.76 was an independent risk factor for 30 day surgical-site infection in orthopaedic trauma patients without a history of diabetes .
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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.
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 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 .
Eliminate Whats Stressing You Out
While this seems obvious, it should be your first plan of action. You might not be able to completely avoid the stress, but you could reduce it by brainstorming alternatives and problem solving. If you want to avoid rush-hour traffic, try leaving at a different time or adopt a new route. If a relationship is troubling you, see if you can make amends. If you find you cannot accomplish tasks at hand, find new ways to get organized.
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Causes Of Anxiety For People With Diabetes
People with diabetes may become anxious over a variety of things. These can include monitoring their glucose levels, weight, and diet.
They may also worry about short-term health complications, such as hypoglycemia, as well as long-term effects. People with diabetes are at higher risk for certain health complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Knowing this can lead to further anxiety.
But keep in mind that the information can also be empowering if it leads to preventative measures and treatments. Learn about other ways one woman with anxiety feels empowered.
There is also some evidence that anxiety may play a role in causing diabetes. One study found that symptoms of anxiety and depression are significant risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.