Stress and diabetes

It is important for diabetics to know how stress affects blood glucose levels.

Everyone has some stress in their life. In many cases, a little stress is a good thing. An example of good stress is having guests come to stay for a weekend. Entertaining guests may be stressful, but on the other hand it may motivate you to clean your home (this is a positive outcome that came from your stress).

For diabetics, it is important to know how stress can alter blood glucose levels. This can happen in two ways:

  • People under stress may not eat or drink the right foods or they may not exercise enough. Both your diet and exercise are extremely important when controlling diabetes.
  • Stress hormones may also cause blood glucose levels to go up.

Mental stress is worrying about our children, finances, where we live etc. Mental stress usually causes our glucose levels to go up, but in some cases it may cause our glucose levels to go too far down: either case this is very poor for your health. Physical stress would be illnesses or injuries and causes our glucose levels to go up. 

There are ways we can reduce mental stress. If phone calls annoy you at dinner time, either turn your phone to silent or turn it off. If traffic bothers you, do your running around during times when there is less traffic.

Some general tips to fight stress are:

  • Start exercising. If you already exercise join a group and be social.
  • Start a new hobby or learn a craft.
  • Volunteer at a hospital or for a charity.

Learn to cope with stress in positive ways. Try talking to yourself about the challenge that is causing stress. Then be calm and think of solutions. Say to yourself, “What can I do about this problem?” Try to change the situation to get rid of stress. People that follow these suggestions have less glucose elevation when responding to mental stress.

Take a mindfulness class and learn to relax through walking, communication and breathing, exercise and eating healthy. Art therapy classes are wonderful and are proven to help people relax. Relaxing can help a type 2 diabetic stop the sensitivity of the stress hormone.

Some sources of stress will never go away, no matter what you do. Therefore, dealing with your diabetes and taking good care of your health is very important. Counselling can help those diabetics suffering from severe stress. You may learn ways to cope or change your behavior so you feel better.

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