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Stress And Low Blood Sugar

Low Blood Sugar And Your Mind

Low Blood Sugar And Your Mind

One danger of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is that you might not know you’re having it. Low glucose levels affect your brain and can leave you unable to recognize a problem or seek a solution. Low blood sugar is not a symptom of diabetes. It’s a side effect of diabetes treatment. It happens when you have too much insulin for the amount of food you have eaten. You can get hypoglycemia (high-po-glye-SEEM-e-uh) if you take insulin or if you take pills that stimulate your body to release insulin from the pancreas. These pills include sulfonylureas, such as chlorpropamide (brand name Diabinese), tolbutamide (Orinase), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase, Micronase), glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), tolazamide (Tolinase), and tolbutamide (Orinase). Other drugs that raise insulin and can lead to hypoglycemia include the meglitinides, such as repaglinide (Prandin) and nateglinide (Starlix). Combination drugs that contain sulfonylureas or meglitinides can also potentially cause lows. You can see a more complete list of drugs that cause hypoglycemia here. If you have too much insulin and don’t eat enough, or you exercise too much, you will likely develop low blood sugar. The symptoms can range from annoying, like excessive sweating, to life-threatening, like passing out while driving or having seizures. Celia Kirkman, RN, CDE, wrote that “Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the brain does not have enough glucose to carry out its many functions.” You can’t pay attention to things, you’re less aware of your environment; you have less control of your emotions. This is what makes low blood sugar hard to treat and prevent. Your brain is supposed to pick up warning signs and address problems, but your brain is impaired by low glucose. Symptoms of low Continue reading >>

Stress And Anxiety: Could Low Blood Sugar Be The Link?

Stress And Anxiety: Could Low Blood Sugar Be The Link?

Feeling stressed and anxious? Could it be low blood sugar? When you have stable blood sugar, you will feel grounded, experience less overwhelm and stress, feel less anxious and have no cravings – if your cravings are blood sugar related (cravings can also be due to yeast, low serotonin, low endorphins, low catecholamines and low GABA) Signs of low blood sugar may include: • Anxiety, irritability, agitation, nervousness • Feeling stressed and overwhelmed • Feeling shaky between meals or when you skip a meal • Poor memory, focus and fatigue • Intense sweet craving at various times of the day • Waking in the night (low blood sugar is one of many causes of insomnia) Simple dietary changes to help stabilize your blood sugar 1. Eat enough protein • Eat at least 20-25g (4oz or palm-sized portions) of good quality protein at each meal • Grassfed beef, lamb, wild fish, pastured chicken, turkey and eggs, dairy (if it’s not an issue for you), legumes • This is not negotiable – you must eat breakfast every day! And within an hour of waking • If you can’t quite give up your coffee make sure to eat breakfast first • Make sure to include protein at breakfast! (egg, fish, chicken sausage, cheese/yogurt, even dinner for breakfast) • Substitute packaged cereals with real oatmeal (if gluten is not an issue or buckwheat and add nuts, seeds, coconut, butter, yogurt or kefir or a scoop of whey protein • Smoothies are good too – use fruit like berries and banana, use water as your base, add 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, 20g whey protein powder (other optional additions: green powder or freshly juiced greens, yogurt or kefir, nut butters, freshly ground flax seeds) 2. Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks • Protein, fat and carbohydrate at each meal and snack. • Lun 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 >>

All About Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar)

All About Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar)

Hypoglycemia refers to an abnormally low level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Hypoglycemia is not a disease in itself, it is a sign of a health problem. The brain uses a lot of energy and needs glucose to function. Because the brain cannot store or manufacture glucose, it needs a continuous supply. Signs of low blood sugar include hunger, trembling, heart racing, nausea, and sweating. Hypoglycemia is commonly linked with diabetes, but many other conditions can also cause low blood sugar. This article will discuss the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hypoglycemia, and the difference between hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. We will also look at how to prevent it. Here are some key points about hypoglycemia. More detail is in the main article. Hypoglycemia is not a disease but a symptom of another condition. Early symptoms include hunger, sweating, and trembling. A common cause is diabetes. Alcohol abuse and kidney disorders can also lower blood sugar levels. What is hypoglycemia? Hypoglycemia is a condition where there is not enough glucose, or sugar, in the blood. Levels of blood sugar are below 4 mmol/L (72mg/dL). Adults and children with mild hypoglycemia may experience the following early symptoms: hunger tremor or trembling sweating irritability a pale face heart palpitations accelerated heart rate tingling lips dizziness weakness Severe hypoglycemia is sometimes called diabetic shock. It may involve: concentration problems confusion irrational and disorderly behavior, similar to intoxication inability to eat or drink Complications If a person does not take action when symptoms of hypoclycemia appear, it can lead to: A person who regularly experiences hypoglycemia may become unaware that it is happening. They will not notice the warning signs, and this can lea Continue reading >>

How To Lower Blood Sugar Levels By Reducing Stress

How To Lower Blood Sugar Levels By Reducing 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 are called a “rebound” or “Somogyi” reaction. Learn more about adult ADHD and anxiety… Reduce stress with Diet and Exercise Eat Your Way to Calm Here’s how to do it: Skip the simple sugars and starches (chips, cakes and ice cream). The spike in blood sugar and insulin they cause, combined with your already high cortisol levels, can lead you to eat more as well as put you at risk of insulin insensitivity and diabetes. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for comfort food, but take the attributes of the “bad” comfort food – creamy, crunchy, sweet – and try to find healthier alternatives. Avoid coffee and other caffeinated food and drinks. They not only increase levels of certain stress hormones, but also mimic their effects in the body (increasing heart rate, for example). Load up on vegetables and fruits and other high-fiber foods. The nutrients they provide lend an extra dollop Continue reading >>

Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia) (cont.)

Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia) (cont.)

A A A Common causes of low blood sugar include the following: Overmedication with insulin or antidiabetic pills (for example, sulfonylurea drugs) Use of medications such as beta blockers, pentamidine, and sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra) Missed meals Reactive hypoglycemia is the result of the delayed insulin release after a meal has been absorbed and occurs 4-6 hours after eating. Severe infection Adrenal insufficiency Liver failure Congenital, genetic defects in the regulation of insulin release (congenital hyperinsulinism) Congenital conditions associated with increased insulin release (infant born to a diabetic mother, birth trauma, reduced oxygen delivery during birth, major birth stress, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, and rarer genetic conditions) Insulinoma or insulin-producing tumor Other tumors like hepatoma, mesothelioma, and fibrosarcoma, which may produce insulin-like factors What follows are expansions on the points noted above and should be incorporated within those points (such as cancer, diabetes drugs, organ failures). Most cases of hypoglycemia in adults happen in people with diabetes mellitus. Diabetes has two forms, type 1 (loss of all insulin production) and type 2 (inadequate insulin production due to resistance to the actions of insulin). People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to control their glucose level; if they skip meals or have a decreased appetite without changing their insulin dose, they may develop hypoglycemia. Insulin is also used to treat some people with type 2 diabetes. If a person with type 1 diabetes accidentally takes too much insulin, or a person with type 2 diabetes accidentally takes too much of their oral medications or insulin, he or she may develop hypoglycemia. Even when a diabetic patient takes medi Continue reading >>

Neurotransmitters, Adrenals, Blood Sugar & Nutrition

Neurotransmitters, Adrenals, Blood Sugar & Nutrition

The adrenal glands are a primary stress response organ and play a key secondary role in raising blood sugar. Primarily performed by pancreas-originating glucagon, adrenal hormones, like cortisol, and neurotransmitters like epinephrine, contribute to raising blood sugar as well. Since glucose in the blood is critical for brain function, the body employs a tight web of control using several mechanisms to regulate blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is physiologically detected as low, glucagon is secreted by the pancreas to promote the release of glycogen from the liver. This same mechanism is how epinephrine (aka adrenaline) raises blood sugar in the body. Epinephrine is also released during times of acute stress such as a threat or noxious stimuli. Epinephrine is directly mediated by the central nervous system (CNS) through the sympathetic nerve system, which stimulates the adrenal medulla. Epinephrine also has several functions beyond glucose release. It raises heart and respiratory rate, and also causes the release of fatty acids into the blood. It is now believed that many symptoms of what used to be referred to as ‘reactive hypoglycemia’ are sensitivities to epinephrine release when the body has internally raised blood sugar.[1] People typically report these symptoms as nervousness or anxiety, shaking, trembling, or irritability. For those who may experience these symptoms, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at National Institutes of Health offers the following recommendations: Physical activity Eating a variety of foods, including meat, poultry, fish, or non-meat sources of protein; starchy foods like rice and potatoes; fruits and vegetables, and dairy products Eating foods high in fiber Avoiding or limiting foods high Continue reading >>

Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On The Body

Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On The Body

The Effects of low blood sugar on the Body Every cell in your body needs sugar (glucose) to function. When your blood sugar levels drop too low, your cells become starved for energy. Initially, that can cause minor symptoms, but if you don’t get your blood sugar levels up soon, you’re at risk of serious complications. When your blood sugar (glucose) levels fall below the normal range, it’s called hypoglycemia, or insulin shock. Low blood sugar can happen when you skip a meal. It can also happen if your pancreas releases more insulin than it should after you’ve eaten. The most common reason for low blood sugar is diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make enough, or your body can’t use it properly. To keep blood sugar levels from rising too much (hyperglycemia), you need the right amount of insulin. With insufficient insulin, your blood sugar levels rise. Too much, and your blood sugar levels can plummet. Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially on an empty stomach. This can interfere with the liver’s ability to release stored glucose into your bloodstream. Hepatitis and other problems with your liver can also lead to low blood sugar. Other causes include kidney disorders, anorexia nervosa, a pancreatic tumor, or adrenal gland disorders. There are a variety of symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to be sure what your blood glucose levels are is by taking a blood glucose test. Generally, blood sugar levels below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered too low, according to the American Diabetes Association. If you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels often. Low blood sugar can come on quickly Continue reading >>

Stress And Diabetes

Stress And Diabetes

Both positive and negative situations can be stressful. Major life stresses, such as illness or a death in the family, are stressful events. Positive and new events, such as marriage, a new baby or a new job can also cause a stress response. Minor life stresses are the normal pressures of daily life, such as work deadlines, heavy traffic, phone calls or doctor visits. Holidays and vacations can cause stress. Too much stress can lead to health problems. Stress increases blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. When stressed, the immune system cannot fight disease well. Reducing stress or coping with it in a positive way, is important. How do you respond to stress physically? Your body responds to stress by raising your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and blood sugar levels. Sometimes the symptoms of stress and low blood sugar are similar. Your blood sugar rises to give your brain and muscles energy. This is called the "fight or flight" response. If energy is not used to fight or run away, it can leave you feeling tense or cause headaches. Stress makes controlling diabetes harder. In people with diabetes, their "fight or flight" response does not work like it should. Insulin may not be able to carry the sugar into the cells, so sugar remains in the blood. This causes a high blood sugar and ketone levels may rise. Some people have a drop in blood sugar due to an increased intake of alcohol or skipping meals. The result of stress may be unstable blood sugar and ketone levels. If stress happens often, blood sugar and ketone levels may fluctuate. Some people are less able to deal with stress when their blood sugar is out of control. Everyone responds to stress in a different way. This is called coping. A variety of methods are needed to cope with different situations Continue reading >>

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia

Both stress and adrenal fatigue can contribute to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because of the key roles the adrenal hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol play in blood sugar regulation. Stress (and the anticipation of stress) signals the body to raise blood sugar (glucose) levels in order to generate energy to respond to the stress. If the body cannot meet this higher demand for blood glucose, hypoglycemia can result. Stress may also provoke blood sugar swings that can have a cumulative effect on the body’s ability to maintain blood sugar balance, and aggravate hypoglycemic symptoms. In fact, some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as irritability and nervousness, may sometimes be the effects of high levels of stress hormones rather than of the low blood sugar itself. During adrenal fatigue, when adrenal hormone levels are lower, it becomes harder to maintain blood sugar balance, especially in response the increased demand from stress. It has been known for almost a century that people who are chronically hypoglycemic are often also experiencing adrenal fatigue, and that people going through adrenal fatigue almost always have some form of irregular blood sugar pattern. Hypoglycemia is the most common of these. Hypoglycemia commonly occurs during adrenal fatigue when low epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol are combined with the high insulin levels of stress. The low levels of adrenal hormones that can occur during adrenal fatigue may fail to raise blood glucose enough to meet the increased demand. As a result, the cells do not get the glucose and other nutrients they require, and the person may crave sugar as well as feel tired, shaky and weak. Circulating epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol help the liver convert glycogen (stored glucose) in 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. Stress affects everyone… 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. What happens to my blood sugar levels when I’m stressed? 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 1 diabetes… When you have type 1 diabetes, insulin reactions or low blood sugars are a common cause of stress. The hormonal response to a low blood sugar includes a rapid release of epinephrine (and glucagon for a year or so after diagnosis), 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 1 diabetes, stress may make your blood sugar go up and become more difficult to control – and you may need to take higher doses of 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 thi Continue reading >>

Is There A Blood Sugar Monster Lurking Within You?

Is There A Blood Sugar Monster Lurking Within You?

Ever know someone who will get into the lousiest mood because they became hungry? And, if they don’t get some food in soon, the brain shuts down and they can become just plain mean? Sometimes they don't know they are hungry until after they eat—when they apologize for their behavior. Are you even one of those people? Hunger and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are primitive signals known to set off the stress response in a person. In people who are predisposed, anxiety and depression can be common segues to this stress response. Triggered by drops and fluctuations in blood sugar, anxiety, and depression can manifest in people who are very sensitive and can become chronic if food intake isn’t consistent. Humans are built like all the other animals—and animals get very unhappy when blood sugar is low. It is an evolutionary mechanism that is designed to make finding food a priority. This priority is important, for it helps to avoid starvation. But in us humans, low blood sugar can have a very negative effect on mood. While the primitive animal goes into food-finding mode, sometimes our more complex human brain doesn’t realize it is a food issue, and instead simply feels anxious, depressed, angry, or even all three. That primitive part of us starts to stress about other issues (work, relationships) and the real culprit—low blood sugar—is not addressed. In a panic, sometimes a person who is hungry and stressed out might even go for more sugary foods (like sodas, cookies and cakes) which will cause even greater blood sugar fluctuations and keep the cycle going. How To Balance Your Blood Sugar If you know you are one of the people who are affected by drops in blood sugar, it is important to eat regularly throughout the day. And, as much as possible, it is best to p 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 >>

Stress And Blood Glucose Levels

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 >>

Must Read Articles Related To Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)

Must Read Articles Related To Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)

A A A Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a commonly perceived problem. In actuality, while some or many of the symptoms may be present, it is rarely confirmed or documented. The presence of true, documented hypoglycemia in the absence of diabetes treatment must be evaluated comprehensively by an endocrinologist. Hypoglycemia most often affects those at the extremes of age, such as infants and the elderly, but may happen at any age. Generally, hypoglycemia is defined as a serum glucose level (the amount of sugar or glucose in your blood) below 70 mg/dL. As a medical problem, hypoglycemia is diagnosed by the presence of three key features (known as Whipple's triad). Whipple's triad is: symptoms consistent with hypoglycemia, a low plasma glucose concentration, and relief of symptoms after the plasma glucose level is raised. Symptoms of hypoglycemia typically appear at levels below 60 mg/dL. Some people may feel symptoms above this level. Levels below 50 mg/dL affect brain function. The body regulates its glucose level—the primary source of energy for the brain, muscles, and other essential cells - by the actions of different hormones. These hormones include insulin (which lowers the blood sugar level) and other chemicals which raise blood sugar (such as glucagon, growth hormone, and epinephrine). Both insulin and glucagon are manufactured in the pancreas, an organ near the stomach which assists the digestive tract. Special cells in the pancreas, called beta cells, make insulin. Alpha cells in the pancreas make glucagon. The role of insulin is to help in the absorption of glucose from the blood by causing it to be stored in the liver or be transported into other tissues of the body (for metabolism or storage). Glucagon increases the amount of Continue reading >>

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