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.
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?
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.
Practice Mindfulness To Promote A Feeling Of Calm
Whether you choose deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga, mindfulness techniques are designed to help you reduce stress.
A short-term randomized controlled trial of 60 people with type 2 diabetes found that those who used mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques saw improved fasting blood sugar and A1C and lower levels of anxiety and depression. Researchers published those results in 2018 in the Journal of Diabetes Research.
Explore a variety of relaxation techniques, Belfort De Aguiar suggests, to find one that works for you. If you have trouble winding down, apps such as Headspace and Calm are popular, budget-friendly options for learning how to practice mindfulness.
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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.
S Toward Stress Reduction
One of the things you need to do in order to lessen the effect of stress on your blood glucose levels and improve your overall health is to take time in your daily life to rest whenever you can. The rest periods can be very short but they should be often because only through rest can you lessen your bodys cortisol level and improve your quality of life.
Rest is crucial for long-term spiritual and psychological well-being. If you dont take time out to reduce your stress levels, you can become ill. Scientists studying stress in the Netherlands reported that too much fatigue, also known as vital exhaustion causes demoralization, irritability, and fatigue. It may also increase your chances of getting a heart attack by 100 percent.
These are ways you can take time out of your life for rest and stress reduction:
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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.
Well, we got to know that stress does have an effect on the sugar levels directly. So it is up to us to take a break during the weeks and manage the weekends too. If you feel really stressed out, you can check your sugar levels and act accordingly. But make sure that you do not put yourself in that situation and remember to take care of yourself. Stress can lead to a lot of problems, so get it, before it gets you.
Recharge Your Batteries By Getting A Good Nights Sleep
Plenty of research shows that lack of adequate sleep can lead to emotional strain for example, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that sleep deprivation is a contributing factor to anxiety disorders. Whats more, poor sleep may cause blood sugar levels to swing: In a large study published in Diabetes Care, people with type 2 diabetes who slept less than 4.5 hours per night had higher blood sugar levels than those who slept 6.5 to just over 7 hours a night. Sleeping too much was also associated with higher blood sugar. Getting enough sleep can help your diabetes management, Campbell says. If youre not sleeping well at night, discuss the matter with your doctor.
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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?
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.
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.
S To Find Out If Stress Is Affecting Your Blood Glucose Levels
- 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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Study Links Stress Hormone With Higher Blood Sugar In Type 2 Diabetes
- The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
- A new study documents a clear link between the stress hormone cortisol and higher blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and The Ohio State University College of Medicine documents a clear link between the stress hormone cortisol and higher blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
The study published online in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
“In healthy people, cortisol fluctuates naturally throughout the day, spiking in the morning and falling at night,” said Dr. Joshua J. Joseph, an endocrinologist and researcher at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center who led the study. “But in participants with type 2 diabetes, cortisol profiles that were flatter throughout the day, had higher glucose levels.”
Previous research has shown that stress and depression are two of the major causes of a flatter cortisol profile. These sustained levels of cortisol make it much more difficult to control blood sugar and manage the disease, which is why it is so important for those with type 2 diabetes to find ways to reduce stress.
How Can I Help Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Exercise can help lower your blood sugar when it is high. It also can keep your blood sugar levels steady over time. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Work with your healthcare provider to create an exercise plan. Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. A healthy weight can help you lower your blood sugar levels. Ask your provider to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight. Together you can set manageable weight loss goals.
- Follow your meal plan. A dietitian will help you make a meal plan to help lower your blood sugar level. You may need to decrease the amount of carbohydrates that you eat.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. They can also make your blood sugar levels harder to control. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Limit or do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can increase your blood sugar level. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1Â½ ounces of liquor. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Also ask how much is safe for you to drink each day.
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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 .
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.
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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.
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?
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Emotional Stress May Cause A Rise In Glucose Levels
We are mostly aware of physical stress and how to manage it. Emotional stress is more complicated to detect and so more difficult to manage. Feelings like fear, anxiety, anger and excitement all cause the body to secrete stress hormones into the bloodstream, to help prepare the body for the so-called fight-or-flight response. When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands become enlarged and produce two hormones – adrenaline and noradrenaline. While the main role of noradrenaline is to prevent blood pressure from falling, adrenaline is an important blood glucose regulating substance1. Raising blood glucose is important in stressful situations, as the body prepares itself for a lot of physical and mental activity. The release of adrenaline helps achieve this and, combined with the increase in blood pressure, ensures the supply of oxygen and glucose to all parts of the body².
For people who do not have diabetes, the body releases insulin to reduce high blood glucose levels. However, for people with diabetes, stress may contribute to increase blood glucose levels for many days, weeks or months.