Stress And Blood Glucose Levels
When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands trigger the release of glucose stored in various organs, which often leads to elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream.
For people with diabetes, this can be particularly problematic as they find it harder than non-diabetics to regain normal blood glucose levels after a bout of stress.
The common misconception with stress is that it is an emotional problem, often disguised as anxiety, worry, or depression.
However, the reality is that stress can also be physical, nutritional, and chemical.
For example, stress can be experienced as physical pain or illness, and can also be triggered by situations such as an accident, the death of a friend or relative or confrontations with other people.
Essentially, stress can be considered as anything that tends to change the control that you have over our body and our emotions
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.
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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Anxiety Over Low Blood Sugar
A low blood sugar episode, which can include anything from confusion and shakiness to nausea, loss of consciousness, and seizures, can be very scary. It therefore makes sense that some people with diabetes also experience anxiety related to possibly having a low blood sugar episodeâand not just as a physiological reaction to low blood sugar levels.
This anxiety is so common that the term fear of hypoglycemia is commonly used among healthcare providers and researchers. Research has found that a history of experiencing mild hypoglycemia increases FoH in people who have diabetes.
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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How Stress Affects Blood Sugar Level
GET THE SCOOPTwo types of stress can change blood sugar levels: Physical stress Mental or emotional stress. Each type of stress affects blood sugar levels differently. Physical stress generally causes blood sugar levels to increase. Physical stress includes:
Illness Surgery Injury Mental or emotional stress has mixed effects, depending on the type of diabetes you have:
Type 1 diabetes: Mental stress can increase or decrease blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes: Mental stress generally increases blood sugar levels.
Stress also can affect your blood sugar levels indirectly by causing you to forget about your regular diabetes care routine. When youre stressed out, you might:
Exercise more or less Not test your blood sugar level as often Forget or delay a dose of medication and/or insulin
MENTAL STRESS CAN AFFECT YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Use your diabetes logbook to discover if mental stress affects your blood sugar levels, especially if you have type 2 diabetes. Some people with type 2 diabetes are very sensitive to stress. It causes the body to produce especially high levels of stress hormones, which drive blood sugar levels up.
FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO FIND OUT IF YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS ARE AFFECTED BY MENTAL STRESS:
1. Rate your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 indicates the lowest stress level and 10 the highest record your stress level in your logbook.
2. Test your glucose using your home monitor and enter the result.
3 WAYS TO REDUCE MENTAL STRESS
Ways To Combat Stress
Everyone experiences stress from time to time. However, constant stress isnt good for your body, mind, or your type 2 diabetes. Instead of letting stress get the better of you, meet it head-on with some de-stressing techniques, including these:
Stress isnt good for anyone, yet everyone experiences it. Instead of drowning beneath your stress, make an effort to reduce it. Not only will your mind feel freer, but your diabetes will likely be easier to manage.
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What Happens To My Blood Sugar Levels When Im Stressed
During stressful situations, epinephrine , glucagon, growth hormone and cortisol play a role in blood sugar levels. Stressful situations include infections, serious illness or significant emotion stress.
When stressed, the body prepares itself by ensuring that enough sugar or energy is readily available. Insulin levels fall, glucagon and epinephrine levels rise and more glucose is released from the liver. At the same time, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, which causes body tissues to be less sensitive to insulin. As a result, more glucose is available in the blood stream.
When you have type 2 diabetes, low blood sugars from too much medication or insulin are a common cause of stress. The hormonal response to a low blood sugar includes a rapid release of epinephrine and glucagon, followed by a slower release of cortisol and growth hormone. These hormonal responses to the low blood sugar may last for 6-8 hours during that time the blood sugar may be difficult to control. The phenomena of a low blood sugar followed by a high blood sugar is called a rebound or Somogyi reaction.
When you have type 2 diabetes, stress may make your blood sugar go up and become more difficult to control and you may need to take higher doses of your diabetes medications or insulin.
During times of stress, individuals with diabetes, may have more difficulty controlling their blood sugars.
How Does Stress Work
When the brain senses danger, it releases stress hormones that get the body ready for action. Blood sugar rises, to give the body extra fuel. This gives us a burst of energy that ends when the danger goes away.
But when stress lasts for a long time, and the body isnt given a chance to rest, the brain stays in a constant state of alarm, so it keeps producing stress hormones that keep raising blood sugar. This is great for a short burst of energy, but constantly high blood sugar is toxic and leads to diabetes symptoms.
Stress also increases insulin resistance, which makes our bodies less able to reduce blood sugar. And to top it all off, stress might encourage us to try to relax with unhealthy habits like smoking, eating high-calorie foods, or isolating ourselves, which can worsen diabetes and make us even more stressed in the long run.
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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.
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Diabetes Stress And Blood Sugar
Stress isnt healthy for anyone, diabetic or not. However, when you have diabetes, stress can have a specific impact on both your insulin and your blood sugar levels.
When the body becomes stressed, it releases stress hormones like cortisoland adrenalineinto your system. In a person with diabetes, these hormones can make it harder for your insulin to work. When cortisol is released, it triggers your bodies natural fight or flight reaction this can cause your heartbeat and breathing to speed up. However, it also releases glucose stored in your liver into your blood so the energy can get throughout your system. In a person with diabetes, the pancreas struggles to keep up with the high demand for insulin, causing insulin resistance. As the energy cant get into the cells, this causes your blood sugar levels to rise.
If your blood sugar levels rise too much, this can cause a hyper which can lead to you feeling thirsty, lethargic and give you a headache. If the stress doesnt go away, it can keep your blood sugar levels high and put you at a higher risk of other diabetes complications, as well as affecting your day to day mood and how you look after yourself and your condition.
But dont worry! There are plenty of things you can do to take the pressure off.
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How Does Poor Circulation Affect Blood Sugar
If someone has poor blood circulation it will lead to plaque forming in the blood vessels rendering them unable to deliver sufficient amounts of blood to neighboring cells and that can lead to raised blood sugar levels.
Fortunately, there are simple, tried and tested ways of improving blood flow around the body. From general lifestyle changes to acute therapies, understanding how to support your circulation is a key part of maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Need help managing your blood sugar? Want to treat your diabetes at home? Contact us today for help with your treatment plan.
Low Blood Sugar Mimics Anxiety
The mutual symptoms of low blood sugar and anxiety are not coincidental. There is a shared physiological base of the two conditions.
When low blood sugar occurs, the body attempts to normalize levels by bringing blood glucose up. It does this through epinephrine excretion, which triggers glucose production in the liver.
Increased adrenaline levels, however, trigger a âfight or flightâ response in the body. This same biochemical process is also linked to anxiety.
A longer-term or chronic low blood sugar state can also cause the body to produce cortisol, which is the âstress hormone.â Cortisol helps tissues in the body be less reactive to insulin, which helps increase glucose circulation in the bloodstream.
While this may help raise and normalize blood sugar levels, higher cortisol levels are also linked to anxiety. For this reason, many of the warning signs and symptoms of low blood sugar are shared with that of anxiety.
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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.
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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Stress And Diabetes: Can Stress Raise Blood Sugar Levels
Were not going to tell you how to live a stress-free life. After all, thats impossible. And if youre newly diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, it makes sense that you might be feeling on edge, tense and stressed. According to The Centers for Disease Control , people with diabetes are 20% more likely to suffer from anxiety. But is stress and blood sugar related?
What we are going to tell you is how to better manage the stress thats in your life so that its negative impact upon your health is minimized.
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
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels Chart
Every substance present in our body has an optimum level. Above or below that specific range, that particular substance is harmful to our health. And so is sugar. There is a certain range of blood sugar which is considered as standard for almost all age. However, there might be some changes in the level considering different factors like age and other co-morbidities. Lets look at the chart:
Sometimes, random blood is also taken. In this case, the glucose level of 200 mg/dl is considered a diabetic condition.
Going through the chart you will notice certain terms regarding blood sugar which you need to understand in order to evaluate your own glucose level. So, I will just give a small brief regarding those:
- Fasting blood glucose: Here, blood sugar is tested after abstaining from food and drink for at least 8 hours.
- Postprandial blood sugar:In this case, blood sugar is tested 2 hours after a meal to access if its at the optimum level after having a meal or not.
- Random blood glucose: Blood is tested at any time of the day.
- HbA1c: It refers to a blood test which is done to evaluate the average level of blood glucose over the past 3 months. HbA1c is also known as glycosylated haemoglobin or A1C. Moreover, fasting is not required before carrying out the test.
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What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat, and is your bodys main source of energy. Your blood carries glucose to all of your bodys cells to use for energy.
The sugar that isnt needed to fuel your body right away gets stored in cells for later use. Too much sugar in your blood can be harmful.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease thats characterized by having higher levels of blood sugar than whats considered within normal limits. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.
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