Does Happiness Affect Diabetes?
Summary: Have you ever wondered if your emotions affect diabetes control? Here, I will be exploring 3 questions – How do our emotions (especially happiness) influence our blood sugar levels? Are there emotions that are “better” than others? What can we do to be happy? How do our emotions influence our blood sugar levels? Feeling dejected or distressed can make it more challenging to eat healthily, monitor sugar levels, and engage in exercise. In other words, it makes us less able to care for our health. Negative emotions like stress, anger, or sadness can also increase the stress-related hormones (e.g. cortisol) in our body. When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands (which are above our kidneys) release certain stress-related hormones such as adrenaline, glucagon, steroids (e.g. growth hormone), and cortisol. Glucagon and adrenaline trigger more glucose to be released from the liver, while the growth hormone and cortisol can result in the body becoming less sensitive to insulin. Thus, when more glucose is released into our bloodstream and when we become less sensitive to insulin, our blood sugar level rises. This may result in a vicious cycle, where negative emotions increase your sugar levels, making you even more upset, and leading to even higher sugar levels. Are there emotions that are “better” than others? You might be thinking, “If sadness and anger are associated with poorer blood sugar levels, what about positive emotions? Can happiness help improve diabetes control?” A comprehensive review study by Dr Ed Diener (University of Illinois professor emeritus of psychology) of 160 papers highlight how happiness (“feeling positive about your life, not stressed out, not depressed”) contribute to better health outcomes. Happiness reduces stress Continue reading >>
Blood Sugar, Emotions
We like to think we’re in charge of our feelings, that we react appropriately to what the world brings us. But do we? Blood sugar changes may have more control over our feelings than we think. In particular, low blood sugar can cause us to feel threatened, leading us to show anger. These reactions can cause pain and discomfort for the people around us. If they happen at work, they could cost us our job. How do low blood sugars affect our emotions, and what can we do to avoid this problem? Many people experience low blood sugar when they don’t eat. For people with diabetes, medications — particularly insulin and the sulfonylurea and meglitinide classes of drugs, which raise insulin levels — can cause low sugars. You hopefully know about the danger signs of serious low sugar (called severe hypoglycemia). These include mental confusion, convulsions and seizures, and even loss of consciousness. Before you get to those danger signs, though, you will probably feel irritable and anxious (in addition, perhaps, to having other symptoms such as sweating, fatigue, and shakiness). You might say and do angry things you’ll regret later. Anger as a symptom of low blood sugar is sometimes colloquially called being “hangry” (hungry and angry). Hanger reactions may explain a lot of negative feelings in our lives. The site Fix.com says low blood sugar leads to: • Feeling hostile toward loved ones • Decreased self-control • Seeing situations as much worse than they are In other words, we can feel the world is against us, or that people around us are acting like jerks, when the real problem is low glucose. Hanger is a hot topic on websites now. It’s a little different for people with diabetes, but many of the fixes and preventive measures are the same. How not to get h Continue reading >>
Emotions & Blood-sugar Levels: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Mood
All July, the Joslin Blog is highlighting stories about taking care of yourself emotionally. This story was originally posted on Feb. 18, 2011. This guest post is written by by John Zrebiec, L.I.C.S.W., Director of Behavioral Health at Joslin, and Gail Musen, Ph.D., Investigator in the Section on Clinical, Behavioral & Outcomes Research. Diabetes can affect both your physical and mental health. A diagnosis of diabetes certainly adds a huge emotional weight, which can often manifest as depression, anxiety or some other emotional issue. The same goes for the stress of managing diabetes 24/7. Recently, Joslin researchers discovered a link between high levels of glutamate (a neurotransmitter in the brain that is produced by glucose) to symptoms of depression in people with type 1 diabetes. The study showed increased levels of glutamate in the prefrontal area of the brains of such people — an area associated with both higher-level thinking and regulation of emotions. At the same time, the study showed a link between high levels of glutamate and poor glucose control, , and lower scores on some cognitive tests. We believe that if health care practitioners emphasize good glucose control, it may help reduce the probability that patients with diabetes will also become depressed. Clinical depression is more than the normal response of feeling down for a couple of hours or days. It is more dramatic — taking you down further and longer. A psychologist would diagnose clinical depression if a patient has five or more of these symptoms for at least two weeks. At least one of these symptoms has to be depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure. Depressed mood (feeling sad or empty) most of the day, nearly every day Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, a Continue reading >>
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 The Adrenal Glands The adrenal glands, which site atop the kidneys, are mainly responsible for releasing hormones in response to stress. The hypothalamus area of the brain sends a chemical signal to the adrenal glands, which become enlarged and produce two hormones - epinephrine (also called adrenaline) and norepinephrine. These hormones are released into the blood to help prepare the body for the so-called 'fight-or-flight response'. They speed up the heart and widen airways and blood vessels, causing a rise in blood pressure and muscle tension. While the main role of norepinephrine is to prevent blood pressure from falling, epinephrine is an important blood sugar regulating substance. It is responsible for converting glycogen (the glucose stored in muscle cells and liver) into glucose when blood sugar levels drop, thus ensuring normal levels of blood glucose are maintained. Raising blood sugar is important Continue reading >>
How Blood Sugar Levels Impact Everyday Emotions
affect blood sugar levels can have on your everyday emotions. The other day, I was driving and was suddenly overcome by a feeling of intense sadness; I started to cry. At the time, I thought I was reacting emotionally to a stressful week; I had been looking for a home to purchase, and my offer on a townhome I really liked had been rejected. Then, my Low Predictive alert sounded on my pump, and I realized the reason for the sudden change in my emotions was because my blood glucose (BG) had been dropping and was approaching a low level. Once my BG stabilized, I was fine. The sadness went away as quickly as it had come. Has this ever happened to you? There is a Reason: Your Brain! Well, there is an explanation! Your brain, the center of your thoughts and emotions, needs glucose to do its job. If you don’t have enough glucose to “feed your brain,” your brain can go “haywire”. Even though it seems like you are overly emotional, this is really a physical response to low BG (hypoglycemia). You don’t have to be below a certain number, like 70 mg/dL, to experience this. Your BG may be in the 80-130 md/dL range, or possibly higher, when the reaction occurs. It can be due to a rapid drop in your BG level instead of the actual level (1). Can high BG’s (hyperglycemia) affect your immediate emotions? It probably will not surprise you the answer is “yes.” High BG’s can make it difficult to think and concentrate. I know some people with diabetes tend to get grouchy and irritable when our sugar is high because any blood sugar outside of our desired range can make us feel weird, uncomfortable, and emotionally off-balance (2). This can all vary greatly from person to person, but it’s an interesting symptom to be aware of. Our Friends and Family Those who know me well Continue reading >>
Common Questions About Feelings And Diabetes
Is it normal for people to feel angry after finding out they have diabetes? Absolutely. Many people feel angry. Feelings of guilt, blame, frustration, sadness, grief, and fear are also common reactions. These feelings are normal for anyone just diagnosed with a chronic condition, especially diabetes. They sometimes continue as people make changes in their daily lives and learn to live with diabetes. If you have difficult feelings, talk to a friend, a family member, or a member of your health care team. When people don't talk about their feelings, they often find it harder to cope. It can affect how well they're able manage their diabetes from day to day. I'm scared about what will happen if my blood sugar gets too low. Is that common? Yes, that's a common fear. No one likes the shaky, sweaty reaction and irritability that come with low blood sugar. People who have lost consciousness or had other bad experiences because of low blood sugar are often scared that it will happen again. If your fears about low blood sugar get in your way of good blood sugar control, make an appointment to see a member of your health care team. A diabetes educator or other health professional can help you learn to cope with and manage your fears. I've heard that when people are under stress, it can cause high blood sugar. But sometimes my blood sugar goes too low when I'm stressed. What's happening? Strong emotions can cause the body to produce hormones that make blood sugar levels rise. That's how the body responds to stress. However, for some people, stress can speed up their metabolism. When this happens, it causes diabetes medicine to release into the bloodstream at a faster rate, lowering blood sugar levels. The best thing to do when you're under a lot of stress is to check your blood sug Continue reading >>
What Is The Connection Between Blood Sugar And Emotions?
Changes in blood sugar can have a significant impact on how a person feels, including emotionally, because of how sugar affects not just the brain but the entire body. In addition, emotions can also affect how the body regulates blood sugar. Anyone with persistently high or low blood sugar should talk to a doctor to determine if an underlying condition is to blame. Blood sugar is affected by a variety of factors, including food. Blood sugar rises in the hour or two after a meal and then gradually declines. Foods high in carbohydrates can lead to higher spikes in blood sugar, followed by a more rapid decline. Physical activity causes the muscles to burn glucose, leading to lower blood glucose levels. Some medications can affect blood glucose levels, and stress can also lead to an overall increase in blood sugar. Blood Sugar Effects on Emotions Abnormally high or low blood sugar can affect emotions. Unusually low blood sugar --- also known as hypoglycemia --- can cause feelings of anxiety and confusion. Hypoglycemia can also make it hard to complete routine tasks and can lead to abnormal behavior. High blood glucose, on the other hand, can cause fatigue. Persistently high blood glucose due to poorly treated diabetes may also worsen depression. Stress Effect on Blood Sugar The link between emotions and blood sugar goes beyond the symptoms of hypo- and hyperglycemia, as emotions can also affect blood sugar. Stress, whether emotional or physical, leads to the release of hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. Both of these hormones can cause a rise in blood glucose levels. People with diabetes already have trouble regulating blood sugar, so emotional stress can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels. Managing Blood Sugar and Emotions Persistently high or low blood su Continue reading >>
Dealing With Emotions: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Mood
Having type 2 diabetes can affect not only your physical health but also your emotional health. Getting a diagnosis of diabetes adds an emotional weight onto your shoulders which can be challenging to carry day in and day out. Sometimes this weight can come out as other conditions such as anxiety or depression. There are multiple studies that have shown that external stressors, such as feelings of anxiety or depression, can lead to difficulties in managing self-care. Decreased physical activity, bad food choices, not regularly taking medication are some examples of poor self-care management. Anxiety and stress can lead one to taking up bad habits such as smoking or drinking excessively, which can put a person with diabetes at more risk for developing diabetes related complications. The Grief of Diagnosis When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may notice that you start to experience a grieving process. Many people experience the same emotions associated with the loss of a loved one. When you consider the diagnosis of diabetes, it changes your life, you have lost something and you’ve lost your normal carefree life that you had before. These common emotions are explained in more detail below as well as various the ways you can learn to control these emotions or even overcome them. Common Emotions of Diabetes Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires diligent almost 24/7 management. Sometimes this type of schedule can seem like a burden. When this happens, other common emotions or conditions may manifest, causing even more difficulty in managing your blood sugar levels. Stress Stress is one of the most common emotions associated with having type 2 diabetes. Just the constant daily regimen of testing, ensuring you’re taking your medications and monitoring y Continue reading >>
Managing Stress When You Have Diabetes
Stress can hamper your diabetes care. For instance, if you have so much on your mind that you skip meals or forget to take your medicines, that will affect your blood sugar level. Life will always have challenges and setbacks, but you have the power to choose how you respond to it. Use these six tips as a start. 1. Keep a positive attitude. When things seem to be going wrong, it's easier to see the bad instead of the good. Find something to appreciate in each important area of your life, such as your family, friends, work, and health. That perspective can help you get through tough times. 2. Be kind to yourself. Do you expect too much from yourself? It's OK to say "no" to things that you don't really want or need to do. 3. Accept what you can't change. Ask yourself these three questions: "Will this be important 2 years from now?" "Do I have control over these circumstances?" "Can I change my situation?" If you can make things better, go for it. If not, is there a different way to handle it that would be better for you? 4. Talk to someone. You could confide in a trusted family member or close friend. There are also professionals who can listen and help you find solutions. Ask your doctor for recommendations if you'd like to see a psychologist or counselor. 5. Tap the power of exercise. You can blow off steam with hard exercise, recharge on a hike, or do a relaxing mind-body activity like yoga or tai chi. You'll feel better. 6. Take time to unwind. Practice muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, or visualization. Your doctor may know of classes or programs that teach these skills. You can also check for apps that do that. Continue reading >>
Does Emotion Affect Blood Glucose?
Yes, emotions can affect your blood sugar. Anxiety, fear, even that happy feeling you had when you got that new job can be stressful sometimes. When we’re stressed – whether it’s physical stress or mental stress – our bodies produce hormones such as cortisol that can raise blood glucose even if we haven’t eaten. These hormones are known as the “fight or flight” hormones. Modern day stresses can be anything from starting a new job to fighting an illness to getting ready for that big birthday party. These hormones release our body’s emergency stores of sugar into the bloodstream for use as energy. Sometimes the influx of sugar is too much for the body to use when someone has diabetes and it can cause blood sugars to rise too high. There are some healthy ways to deal with stress so that the “fight or flight” response isn’t activated. These can include taking a walk, listening to music, talking with a good friend, meditation or prayer. So, don’t stress about stress! Find healthy ways to deal with it and you’ll keep those blood sugars in check. For more information on how to deal with stress: Continue reading >>
Is Stress The Source Of Your Blood Sugar Swing?
A catty co-worker, an unpaid credit card bill, planning a wedding — if something causes you stress, it can also trigger an increase in your blood sugar level. Thinkstock If you have type 2 diabetes, you know that certain foods — particularly foods that are high in carbohydrates — can send your blood glucose (sugar) level through the roof. But did you know that there’s a long list of other factors — such as too little sleep, illness, even monthly menstrual cycles — that can sabotage your best efforts to control your blood sugar? High on that list, though you may not be aware of it, is stress. Whether it’s related to work, to relationships, or to some other aspect of your life, research, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), has continually shown that emotional stress can cause blood sugar to surge. And since strict blood sugar control is the key to the successful management of type 2 diabetes, it’s important to understand how stress affects you and to find healthy ways to cope when mental distress mounts. The Effect of Stress on Blood Sugar According to the ADA, stress triggers an increase in the body's fight-or-flight hormone levels, as if the body were under attack. In response, the body releases extra energy in the form of glucose and fat. People with diabetes are unable to properly process that glucose because of insulin resistance, and consequently glucose builds up in the blood. “For someone who doesn't have diabetes, stress causes a temporary rise in blood sugar, but their body can adjust,” says Amy Campbell, RD, LDN, a certified diabetes educator and a contributor to DiabetesSelfManagement.com. “For someone with diabetes, the blood sugar level stays high.” Everyone gets stressed out at times, but it’s important to underst Continue reading >>
How Stress Affects Blood Sugar Levels
Two 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 you're stressed out, you might: Exercise more or less Eat more or less Eat less healthy foods 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: 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. Test your glucose using your home monitor and enter the result. After a week or two, study your results to see if there is a pattern or relationship between your stress level and your blood sugar levels. 3 ways to reduce mental stress Teach yourself to relax when under stress using deep-breathing exercises or techniques you learn in a stress-management class. Evaluate your schedule and de Continue reading >>
Diabetes: Stress & Depression
How is diabetes linked to emotion? You have been challenged with the diagnosis of diabetes. Whether it is a new diagnosis or a longstanding one, living with this challenge can trigger a flood of emotions. Some of these emotions can include: Grief Anxiety Frustration Disappointment Stress These emotions are natural responses and are experienced by many people, especially when they are first diagnosed with diabetes. These emotions might also be experienced by someone managing diabetes over the long term. Emotional issues may make it harder to take care of you—to eat right, exercise, and rest—which in turn can affect blood sugar control. In addition, you might find yourself trying to reduce stress with unhealthy behaviors, which can contribute to diabetes complications. What is stress? Most people experience stress as an emotional or physical strain. It can result in worry, anxiety, and tension. Everyday events or changes in life may create stress. Stress affects everyone to some degree, but it may be more difficult to manage when people learn that they have diabetes. Symptoms of stress can include: Nervousness A fast heartbeat Rapid breathing Stomach upset Depression Stress can make it more difficult to control your diabetes as it may throw off your daily routine and can result in wear and tear on your body. Hormones from stress increase your blood pressure, raise your heart rate, and can cause blood sugar to rise. High blood sugar can make you feel down or tired. Low blood sugar may result in your feeling upset or nervous. How can I reduce stress in my life? There are many things you can do to reduce stress. The following are some suggestions: Take your medications as directed and eat healthy meals. Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing. Get some exercise. Continue reading >>
Do Blood Sugar Levels Affect Mood Swings?
Blood sugar levels that become too high or too low can cause a variety of health problems and can even be life-threatening. Mild, moderate and severe blood sugar fluctuations can also affect your mood and behavior. If your blood sugar levels tend to spike and drop and you notice changes, you need to speak with your physician to learn how to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Video of the Day After a meal, the food you eat is broken down into glucose and either used right away for energy or stored for use later on. Glucose is also made by the liver and pancreas. In order for the cells to use glucose, the hormone insulin must be present. If you have diabetes your body either does not produce insulin or cannot use it properly. Without enough insulin your blood sugar levels can get too high. Non-diabetics can also experience fluctuations in blood sugar levels when skipping meals as a side effect of medications or from various other illnesses. Blood sugar levels are considered high if they climb to greater than 100mg/dL, and diabetes is diagnosed when the level reaches 126 mg/dL or more, according to MedlinePlus. A blood sugar level below 70 mg/dL is considered low. Both high and low blood glucose levels can cause a variety of symptoms, including mood swings. Your brain, like all areas of the body, relies on a steady supply of glucose to function properly. If you take too much insulin, skip meals, take certain medications, are extremely physically active or drink too much alcohol, your blood sugar levels can drop too low. A low blood sugar level is called hypoglycemia. Mild cases of low blood sugar can cause you to feel nervous or anxious, while more severe cases can lead to feeling irritable or tired, notes the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Along with moo Continue reading >>
Blood Sugar & Stress
When stressed, the body prepares itself. Insulin levels fall, glucagon and epinephrine levels rise, and more glucose is available in the blood stream. What happens to my blood sugar levels when I’m stressed? During stressful situations, epinephrine (adrenaline), 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 (adrenaline) levels rise and more glucose is released from the liver. At the same time, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, which causes body tissues (muscle and fat) 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. Self-assessment Quiz Self assessment quizzes are available for topics covered in this website. To find out how much you have learned ab Continue reading >>