Stress and Diabetes!
Managing diabetes on top of life’s typical highs and lows may be stressful in and of itself. It’s not always simple to live with, and it’s made even more difficult when a lot of people don’t get it. Although you cannot avoid unpleasant events, there are things you can do to make them easier to deal with.
This will assist prevent tension from piling up and negatively impacting your mental well-being.
What is Stress?
The way your mind and body react to new or tough conditions is called stress. It could be something short-term, such as anxiety over a speech you’re delivering the next day at work. Or going to a celebratory dinner where you don’t know many people. It might also be a bodily event, such as an accident or disease.
Alternatively, you may have less urgent but ongoing concerns about money, a relationship, or coping with the death of a loved one. Stress may have a physical, psychological, and cognitive impact on you.
What effects might various sorts of stress have on your diabetes?
Various people react to stress in different ways. Your body’s physical response might be influenced by the sort of stress you are under. People with type 2 diabetes typically suffer a rise in blood glucose levels when they are under emotional stress. Type 1 diabetes patients may have a more variable response. This implies they might have an increase or reduction in blood glucose levels.
Blood sugar levels might rise while you’re under physical strain. When you’re sick or injured, this can happen. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes may be affected.
How can you tell whether your glucose levels are being affected by mental stress?
Specific information, such as the dates and what you were doing when you were stressed, may aid in the identification of specific triggers. Are you more anxious on Weekend mornings, for instance? If that’s the case, you now know to take extra precautions on Weekend mornings to reduce stress and keep your blood sugar in balance.
Monitoring your stress and glucose levels will help you find out whether this is occurring to you. If you’re stressed, give yourself a score from 1 to 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. The number ten denotes the maximum level of anxiety. Make a note of this number.
Check your glucose levels after you’ve rated your stress. Carry on like this for the following few weeks. Soon enough, you could see a pattern. If you discover that your blood sugar is consistently high, it’s probable that you’re dealing with mental stress.
Diabetes and Stress
Diabetes must be managed for the rest of one’s life. This can make your life more stressful. Stress might make it difficult to maintain adequate glucose management. Your body’s hormone levels may have a direct impact on your glucose levels. When you’re stressed or feel endangered, your body responds. The fight-or-flight reaction is what it’s termed. Your hormone levels rise, and your nerve cells fire as a result of this reaction.
Your body produces adrenaline and cortisol into your system, and your breathing rates rise as a result of this response. Blood is sent to the muscles and limbs of your body, helping you to battle the circumstance. If you have diabetes stress, your body may not be able to handle the glucose generated by your firing nerve cells. If you can’t turn glucose into energy, it accumulates in your bloodstream. Your blood glucose levels will rise as a result of this.
Chronic pressure from long-term blood glucose disorders can drain you psychologically and physically. It’s possible that this will make managing your diabetes more challenging.
Is it possible for stress to create diabetes?
Diabetes is not caused only by stress. However, there is some evidence suggesting there is a relationship between stress and type 2 diabetes risk.
High amounts of stress hormones, according to a study, may prevent insulin-producing cells in the pancreas from performing correctly and limit the quantity of insulin they produce. As a result, it’s possible that this will lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Overeating while stressed might potentially have a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Some people respond to stress by eating more, which can lead to significant weight gain.
What are the symptoms of stress
Sometimes, the symptoms of stress are subtle, and you may not notice them. Diabetes 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 diabetes stress and take steps to manage it.
When you’re stressed, you could have the following symptoms:
- Muscular discomfort or tension
- Insufficient or excessive sleep
- Overall sensations of disease
You could feel like this when you’re anxious:
Anxious people are more inclined to behave in ways that are out of character. This might include behaviors such as:
- distancing oneself from friends and family
- overeating or skipping meals
- Angry outbursts
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Cigarette use
How to Handle Stress
Look after yourself
At times of stress, it’s even more important to remember to look after yourself and treat yourself kindly. But we know it’s not always as easy as that. If you’re extra busy at work or looking after family then forgetting to eat or take medication can happen. It’s important to get a balance between looking after yourself without putting too much pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly. This can add to or lead to stress. But it’s good to be aware of how easy it can be to give in to the habit of letting diabetes self-care slip in times of stress.
Getting enough sleep and building exercise, rest, and relaxation time into your routine helps some people cope better with stress. Similarly, drinking more alcohol will affect your blood sugar levels. Learning how to see your diabetes differently may help. For example, by going on a diabetes stress education course and meeting others like you.
Talk to others
It might be beneficial to talk about what is causing you stress. It can help you put things in perspective, or it might just make you feel better for getting it off your chest.If you want to talk to someone about things that are worrying you, you could think about speaking to your healthcare team.
If you find that stress is affecting how you manage your diabetes, your diabetes team may be able to give you advice about what could help. For example, they can help you work out when you might need to adjust your insulin.
But don’t forget you can also chat to one of our advisors, they have counseling skills, for free by contacting our helpline. You’ll also get a warm welcome and support from others with diabetes on our online support forum who will know what you’re going through. They’ll be able to offer tips and share their own experiences.
It doesn’t matter that what you get stressed about may not be related to diabetes. It’s getting support to manage it that’s important. Getting support may start to help you think about how you react to stress and think about things – and what you can change to make things easier.
We’ve got more information about starting that conversation – with tips around how to talk about diabetes and how it makes you feel – whether that’s with your healthcare professional team, your family, or your boss at work.
Decreasing mental stress
Meditating might help you get rid of negative ideas and calm your mind. Consider beginning each day with a 15-minute meditation. The tone of the remainder of your day will be determined by this. Keep your eyes closed and sit at a desk with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Recite a phrase that you understand, such as “I’m going to have a nice day” or “I’m at peace with the world.” Encourage yourself to be aware of the present moment by pushing aside any other ideas that may arise.
Decreasing emotional stress
If you find yourself in an unwanted emotional state, take five minutes to be by yourself. Remove yourself from your current environment. Find a quiet space to focus on your breathing.Put your hand on your belly, and feel it rise and fall. Inhale deep gasps, and exhale gradually and noisily. This will decelerate your heartbeat down and help bring you back to a stable emotional state. This act of centering yourself may improve how you deal with whatever is causing the stress.
Decreasing physical stress
Adding yoga to your daily routine can provide both physical activity and meditation at the same time. Practicing yoga can lower your blood pressure, too. Whether it’s yoga or another form of exercise, you should aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day. You can do 10 minutes of exercise when you wake up, 10 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 minutes before you go to sleep.
Decreasing family stress
If you’re feeling exhausted by family responsibilities, consider that it’s OK to say no. Your family will realize if you can’t make it to all events. If your stress stems from not seeing your family as often as you’d like, consider having a family fun night weekly or biweekly. You can play board games or participate in outdoor activities. This can include hiking, swimming, or signing up for a fun run together.
Decreasing work stress
Workplace stressors might follow you home. If you’re experiencing trouble at work, talk to your boss. There may be ways to relieve or work through whatever problems you’re having. If it doesn’t work, you might want to explore switching departments or looking for a new job entirely. Although stress levels elevate when looking for a new job, you may find it settles down with a different position better suited for your skills and personality.
Feelings of fatigue or feelings of worthlessness could make it harder to do self-care things that keep diabetes under control. It is important to remember that doctors can help to treat depression. Call your doctor if any of these symptoms apply to you. Depression can be treated with lifestyle activities (like increased exercise and relaxation), medication, and counseling.
If your diabetes stress is so bad that you can’t function in your normal relationships or you suspect you’re depressed, talk to your primary care physician or endocrinologist. Endocrinologists in particular often collaborate with mental health professionals who can help you cope with excessive diabetes stress.