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Does Stress Cause High Blood Sugar

Top Causes Of Unexplained Hyperglycemia

Top Causes Of Unexplained Hyperglycemia

As you know, many of my postings are based on clinical experience (as well as from my spies on this site). This past week a mother of one of my patients asked if I could blog about unexplained hyperglycemia. We are not talking about forays into fast food restaurants with “neon” signs (as one expert diabetes educator used to quip) but rather despite perfect carbohydrate counting, proven insulin/carbohydrate ratios and insulin sensitivity factors, blood sugars still spike without obvious explanation. One must always keep in mind when trying to analyze the reasons for highs (and lows), that at best, we are trying to approximate the magical workings of the pancreas (particularly the beta cells). Understanding pancreatic infrastructure in relation to the interaction of the beta cells and alpha cells, as well as other types of cells, also may be a piece of the puzzle related to glycemic control. Any attempt to mimic pancreatic function is still evolving in sophistication, at best. What would be the most common causes of “unexplained” hyperglycemia? I would divide these causes into four major categories: 1. Food related (explainable…but less obvious at the surface) 2. Mechanical difficulties 3. Physiological Counter-regulatory hormone response. 4. No idea 1. Food related: Hyperglycemia may occur at a different time that one might expect due to the company of other nutrients associated with carbohydrates. Examples include hyperglycemia that occurs hours after the pasta/pizza/high fat/protein concentrated meal. These meals do not have to consist of fast food with hidden carbohydrates. Hyperglycemia occurs due to the slower absorption of carbs secondary to the presence of fat and protein. Strategies are available to counteract this process including employment of the ex Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Your Blood sugar levels have an impact on your energy, concentration, ability to lose weight performance, mood and much more. When you eat starchy/sweet foods or alcohol they are broken down in the body into a sugar called glucose. This is carried around in the blood stream and taken to cells which use it for energy. At any one time, the ideal amount of glucose to have in the blood is about 2 teaspoons. The level of glucose in the blood is carefully controlled by a hormone called insulin. After we eat, the amount of glucose in the blood rises. Insulin is released to bring blood glucose levels back down to ‘normal’ levels. However, if blood sugar rises too rapidly, the body can end up releasing too much insulin. This causes the blood sugar to swing to low again, making us feel tired, grumpy and hungry again. This is sometimes referred to as the blood sugar rollercoaster. Symptoms associated with a Blood Sugar Imbalance are Irritability Anxiety Depression Mood swings Poor concentration Fat storage, especially around the midriff Brain fog Insomnia Cravings, especially for sweet foods Excessive thirst Addictions to caffeine containing drinks and/or alcohol and cigarettes Drowsiness during the day Excessive sweating Difficulty losing weight The problem with a Blood Sugar Imbalance As if the symptoms above are not enough, if your blood sugar remains unbalanced too frequently the body starts to ignore the insulin message, a condition called insulin resistance. This leads to permanently high blood sugar levels which can cause weight gain and can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes. Testing for a Blood Sugar Imbalance Your Fasting Glucose levels can easily be tested by your GP. Contributory factors There are many factors that may play a role in an imbalanced blood sugar level Continue reading >>

High Blood Sugar Emergencies

High Blood Sugar Emergencies

Blood sugar levels that are too high (hyperglycemia) can quickly turn into a diabetic emergency without quick and appropriate treatment. The best way to avoid dangerously high blood sugar levels is to self-test to stay in tune with your body, and to stay attuned to the symptoms and risk factors for hyperglycemia. Extremely high blood sugar levels can lead to one of two conditions—diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS; also called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma). Although both syndromes can occur in either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, DKA is more common in type 1, and HHNS is more common in type 2. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Ketoacidosis (or DKA) occurs when blood sugars become elevated (over 249 mg/dl, or 13.9 mmol/l) over a period of time and the body begins to burn fat for energy, resulting in ketone bodies in the blood or urine (a phenomenon called ketosis). A variety of factors can cause hyperglycemia (high blood glucose), including failure to take medication or insulin, stress, dietary changes without medication adjustments, eating disorders, and illness or injury. This last cause is important, because if illness brings on DKA, it may slip by unnoticed, since its symptoms can mimic the flu (aches, vomiting, etc.). In fact, people with type 1 diabetes are often seeking help for the flu-like symptoms of DKA when they first receive their diagnosis. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis may include: fruity (acetone) breath nausea and/or vomiting abdominal pain dry, warm skin confusion fatigue breathing problems excessive thirst frequent urination in extreme cases, loss of consciousness DKA is a medical emergency, and requires prompt and immediate treatment. A simple over-the-counter urine dipstick test (e.g., Keto Continue reading >>

Stress Management & High Blood Pressure

Stress Management & High Blood Pressure

Everyone experiences stress at one time or another. What you experience as stress is your body’s response to something you consider threatening. For example, if you encounter what looks like a poisonous snake in your garden, you have an immediate physiological response. Your body produces stress hormones that equip you to take quick action. These stress hormones affect many parts of your body. Your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing increase to give you more oxygen. Your muscles constrict so you can move quickly. The arteries in your arms and legs narrow so that, if you are hurt, you won’t lose a lot of blood. Your blood will clot more quickly in case you are wounded. Your liver pours out stored sugar so you have the energy you need to respond to the threat. This is an acute stress response, and it is your body’s way of adapting to something dangerous in your environment. It is also called the fight-or-flight response, because your body prepares you to fight or flee. You are on high alert. The stress response is designed to keep you safe when confronted with an immediate threat. However, it becomes a problem when acute stress becomes chronic stress. Your body is not designed to remain on high alert for a long period. Chronic stress: Elevates blood pressure causing high blood pressure Increases the likelihood of blood clots Compromises the immune system, making you more prone to disease Elevates blood glucose levels, increasing your risk of complications Increases the possibility for depression or anxiety Diabetes & stress Managing diabetes can be stressful. This is because it is a psychologically challenging disease that can interfere with your quality of life. Some challenges that contribute to stress include: Adjustment to the disease Following the treatme Continue reading >>

Diabetes: Stress & Depression

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 >>

How Many Factors Actually Affect Blood Glucose?

How Many Factors Actually Affect Blood Glucose?

A printable, colorful PDF version of this article can be found here. twitter summary: Adam identifies at least 22 things that affect blood glucose, including food, medication, activity, biological, & environmental factors. short summary: As patients, we tend to blame ourselves for out of range blood sugars – after all, the equation to “good diabetes management” is supposedly simple (eating, exercise, medication). But have you ever done everything right and still had a glucose that was too high or too low? In this article, I look into the wide variety of things that can actually affect blood glucose - at least 22! – including food, medication, activity, and both biological and environmental factors. The bottom line is that diabetes is very complicated, and for even the most educated and diligent patients, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that affects blood glucose. So when you see an out-of-range glucose value, don’t judge yourself – use it as information to make better decisions. As a patient, I always fall into the trap of thinking I’m at fault for out of range blood sugars. By taking my medication, monitoring my blood glucose, watching what I eat, and exercising, I would like to have perfect in-range values all the time. But after 13 years of type 1 diabetes, I’ve learned it’s just not that simple. There are all kinds of factors that affect blood glucose, many of which are impossible to control, remember, or even account for. Based on personal experience, conversations with experts, and scientific research, here’s a non-exhaustive list of 22 factors that can affect blood glucose. They are separated into five areas – Food, Medication, Activity, Biological factors, and Environmental factors. I’ve provided arrows to show the ge Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar & Stress

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 >>

Things That Can Affect Blood Glucose In Pets

Things That Can Affect Blood Glucose In Pets

You’ve studied the disease. You’ve purchased a glucose meter. You altered your schedule to ensure someone is home every 12 hours to give your diabetic pet insulin. And you run periodic glucose curves. A surprising perception of some diabetic pet owners is that the pet’s blood glucose is the same day to day. It isn’t! Little things that we don’t necessarily consider can affect the blood glucose. This is why we like consistency in a diabetic pet’s routine. Today I thought I’d mention 3 big factors that can affect blood glucose. Exercise Whether you are diabetic or not, physical activity can lower blood glucose levels. Increased exercise burns through calories and glucose. This is why we feel hungry after strenuous exercise. If you decide to take your diabetic dog for a hike, I’m sure you will remember to bring water. If this walk is more exercise than you and your dog usually tackle, do also pack your glucose meter and some treats in case your sweetie becomes hypoglycemic. Exercise is a wonderful thing for a diabetic pet, but be sure to pack snacks in case of low blood sugar levels. Stress Anxiety or emotional stress can increase the blood glucose. It’s the old ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline response that we learned about in high school. It’s the body’s way of providing energy to make a quick getaway in an emergency. There really isn’t anything we can do about occasional stress, as life tends to have its ups and downs. Nonetheless, if your sister is visiting with her screaming 3-year old child, it might not be the best day to check Fluffy’s glucose curve. Or perhaps this would be a good excuse to have them stay at a hotel (just kidding!). Treats Treats can increase the blood glucose. It is particularly carbohydrates that drive the increase in g Continue reading >>

How Stress Affects Blood Sugar

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 (the outer layer of the adrenal gland) 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 body’s cells are insulin resistant. The rise in glucose that comes from stress and cortisol release isn’t managed well and the blood sugar has no place to go. It means that the blood sugar levels will be too high. Stress in your Life Most people have a lot of stress in their lives. Stress comes from having long hours on the job, traffic jams getting to and from work, relationships that aren’t perfect, and financial difficulties. This causes the stress hormones to rise for long periods of time, even when we are not actively fighting or fleeing from predators. Rather than acting on the stressor, we sit there with elevated cortisol levels that secondarily increase the blood sugar levels on a chronic basis. What you can do There are several things you can do that can decrease cortisol levels, decrease the perception of stress, and lower blood sugar levels. All it takes is learning a few stress mana Continue reading >>

15 Ways High Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

15 Ways High Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

High blood sugar symptoms Glucose, or sugar, is the fuel that powers cells throughout the body. Blood levels of this energy source ebb and flow naturally, depending what you eat (and how much), as well as when you eat it. But when something goes wrong—and cells aren't absorbing the glucose—the resulting high blood sugar damages nerves, blood vessels, and organs, setting the stage for dangerous complications. Normal blood-sugar readings typically fall between 60 mg/dl and 140 mg/dl. A blood test called a hemoglobin A1c measures average blood sugar levels over the previous three months. A normal reading is below 5.7% for people without diabetes. An excess of glucose in the bloodstream, or hyperglycemia, is a sign of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes don’t make insulin, the hormone needed to ferry sugar from the bloodstream into cells. Type 2 diabetes means your body doesn’t use insulin properly and you can end up with too much or too little insulin. Either way, without proper treatment, toxic amounts of sugar can build up in the bloodstream, wreaking havoc head to toe. That’s why it’s so important to get your blood sugar levels in check. “If you keep glucose levels near normal, you reduce the risk of diabetes complications,” says Robert Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association. Here’s a rundown of the major complications and symptoms of high blood sugar. No symptoms at all Often, high blood sugar causes no (obvious) symptoms at all, at least at first. About 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but one in four has no idea. Another 86 million have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. That's why it’s a good idea to get your blood sugar test Continue reading >>

Pre-diabetes And Stress

Pre-diabetes And Stress

By Kirkland Shave, Program Director Do you need another compelling reason to reduce stress in your life? Although a healthy diet and exercise are crucial to regulating blood sugar and preventing pre-diabetes, other factors are also proven to be at cause for insulin resistance. A February 2010 review from the European Depression in Diabetes Research Consortium states, “Results of longitudinal studies suggest that depression, general emotional stress and anxiety, sleeping problems, anger and hostility are associated with an increased risk for the development of Type 2 Diabetes.” When under stress (physical, mental or emotional), blood sugar rises in order to supply energy for fight or flight. Stress increases the body’s demand for energy, whether it is an acute life and death situation, or coping with chronic mental or emotional difficulties. In people with diabetes, the flight or fight response does not work as well. The blood sugar regulating hormone insulin, is not always able to transfer the extra energy (glucose or fat) to the muscle cells for two reasons. Cells may become resistant to insulin if they don’t need the extra energy (glucose) that floods our blood stream in response to the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. And, as insulin resistance builds, the pancreas can become fatigued as it tries to produce adequate amounts of insulin to nourish the cells. These factors cause people with insulin resistance to have constantly elevated blood sugar – hyperglycemia – which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Coping with chronic stressors often leads to a variety of feelings of dissatisfaction. Our natural tendency will be to make choices that elicit our “feel good hormones” to avoid the weight of these feelings. Unfortunately, we are genetically wired to Continue reading >>

Managing Stress When You Have Diabetes

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 >>

Dealing With Emotions: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Mood

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 >>

Blood Sugar Spikes: Causes, Symptoms, And Prevention

Blood Sugar Spikes: Causes, Symptoms, And Prevention

Diabetes is a disease that causes a person's blood sugar to become too high. This can lead to various complications. A person with diabetes must be careful to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Glucose comes from the food we eat. It is the main source of energy for the body. The pancreas secretes substances, including the hormone insulin, and enzymes. Enzymes break down food. Insulin makes it possible for body cells to absorb the glucose we consume. With diabetes, either the pancreas is unable to produce insulin to help the glucose get into the body cells, or the body becomes resistant to the insulin. The glucose stays in the blood instead. This is what raises blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is known as hyperglycemia. Contents of this article: Causes of blood sugar spikes People with diabetes have to be especially careful about keeping their blood sugar levels under control. There are several reasons why blood glucose levels may spike. These are: Sleep: A lack of sleep can be especially bad for people with diabetes, because it can also raise blood sugar levels. One study performed on Japanese men found that getting under 6.5 hours of sleep each night increases a person's risk for high blood glucose levels. Prioritizing healthy sleep and promoting sleep hygiene are good habits for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes. Stress: When under a lot of stress, the body produces hormones that make it difficult for insulin to do its job, so more glucose stays in the bloodstream. Finding a way to keep stress levels down, such as yoga or meditation, is essential for people with diabetes. Exercise: Having a sedentary lifestyle can cause blood sugar levels to go up. In addition, exercise that is too difficult can cause stress and blood glucose levels to ri Continue reading >>

Can Stress Cause Diabetes?

Can Stress Cause Diabetes?

Source Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Can stress cause diabetes?” If you have, you are not alone. With the rise of the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, and the stressful lifestyle that has become the norm for many individuals, it is natural to wonder if the two are somehow connected. Can Stress Cause Diabetes? The simple answer to the question of whether or not stress can cause diabetes is – no, stress is not a direct cause of diabetes. However, according to the European Depression in Diabetes Research Consortium, stress can increase your chances of developing the disease and it exacerbates the symptoms if you already have diabetes. Over the years, medical researchers have studied the association between stress and diabetes and have come to the conclusion that stress does not cause diabetes, but there is a connection between the two. Based on a number of different studies, researchers found that stress has a direct effect on the body’s blood sugar level causing it to become elevated. The rise in the blood sugar level is part of the body’s natural response to stress known as the fight or flight response. Fight or Flight Response and Blood Sugar Levels When your body senses danger, it automatically goes into the fight or flight reaction mode. When this occurs, changes take place within the body as it gets ready to do battle or flee from the perceived threat. One of the changes that take place is the creation of energy as glucose, fat and fatty cells from the liver are metabolized. To keep up with the high amounts of energy needed for the fight or flight response, your body releases stress hormones. The job of the stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, is to raise the body’s blood sugar levels and keep them elevated so there is enough gluc Continue reading >>

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