How Stress Hormones Raise Blood Sugar
In this excerpt from “Think Like a Pancreas”, certified diabetes educator Gary Scheiner describes why this happens and what to do about it. (excerpted from Think Like A Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes With Insulin by Gary Scheiner MS, CDE, DaCapo Press, 2011) Last weekend I decided to stay up late and watch a scary movie. It had something to do with super-gross vampires who get their jollies by eating the flesh of unsuspecting hotel guests. Anyway, after the final gut-wrenching, heart-pumping scene, I decided to check my blood sugar. I’ll be darned – it had risen about 200 mg/dL (11 mmol) during the movie. With blood that sweet, I felt like the grand prize for any vampires that might happen to be lurking in my neighborhood. As you may be aware, the liver serves as a storehouse for glucose, keeping it in a concentrated form called glycogen. The liver breaks down small amounts of glycogen all the time, releasing glucose into the bloodstream to nourish the brain, nerves, heart and other “always active” organs. The liver’s release of glucose depends largely on the presence of certain hormones. Of all the hormones in the body, only insulin causes the liver to take sugar out of the bloodstream and store it in the form of glycogen. All the other hormones—including stress hormones, sex hormones, growth hormones and glucagon—cause the liver to secrete glucose back into the bloodstream. Growth hormone is produced in a 24-hour cycle and is responsible for the blood sugar rise that we sometimes see during the night or in the early morning. The other “stress” hormones, particularly epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol, are produced when our body needs a rapid influx of sugar for energy purposes. The glucose rise I experienced during the scary Continue reading >>
Study Links Anxiety And Diabetes
Diabetes and anxiety in U.S. adults: findings from the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, by C. Li and colleagues. Diabetic Medicine 25: 878-881, 2008 What is the problem and what is known about it so far? There are 12 types of common and disabling mental health problems that are related to anxiety. These problems can hurt a person's well-being and ability to function. For people with diabetes, anxiety problems can make taking care of their disease more difficult. Little is known about the relationship between diabetes and anxiety problems. Why did researchers do this particular study? The researchers wanted to find out if anxiety problems are more common among people with diabetes than among the general public. The study included more than 200,000 adults with and without diabetes who participated in a large nationwide study on behavior and mental health. The researchers collected information about how many of the subjects had diabetes and anxiety problems and estimated the percentages of people with and without diabetes who are likely to develop anxiety problems. After taking many other factors into account, people with diabetes were 20 percent more likely than those without diabetes to have an anxiety condition at some point in their lifetime. Adults under age 30 and Hispanics had the highest rates of anxiety problems. Information about anxiety problems came from the patients based on their answers to one question on the survey. These answers may not have been accurate. Also, because of the study design, the researchers were able to find a link between the diabetes and anxiety but could not find out which one might develop first or how each affects the other. There is a strong link between diabetes and anxiety problems, especially among Hispanics and yo Continue reading >>
Tips For Dealing With Anxiety And Diabetes
While diabetes is typically a manageable disease, it can create added stress. People with diabetes may have concerns related to regularly counting carbohydrates, measuring insulin levels, and thinking about long-term health. However, for some people with diabetes, those concerns become more intense and result in anxiety. Read on to find out more about the connection between diabetes and anxiety and what you can do to prevent and treat your symptoms. Research has consistently uncovered a strong connection between diabetes and anxiety. One study found that Americans with diabetes are 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety than those without diabetes. This was found to be particularly true in young adults and Hispanic Americans. The link between anxiety and glucose levels Stress can affect your blood sugars, though research tends to be mixed as to how. In some people, it appears to raise blood glucose levels, while in others it appears to lower them. At least one study has shown there may also be an association between glycemic control and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, particularly for men. However, another study found that general anxiety didn’t affect glycemic control, but diabetes-specific emotional stress did. Other research has found that people with type 1 diabetes seem to be “more susceptible to physical harm from stress” while those with type 2 diabetes weren’t. One’s personality also seems to determine the effect to some extent as well. People with diabetes may become anxious over a variety of things. These can include monitoring their glucose levels, weight, and diet. They may also worry about short-term health complications, such as hypoglycemia, as well as long-term effects. People with diabetes are at higher ri Continue reading >>
Is Anxiety Increasing Your Diabetes Risk?
Is Anxiety Increasing Your Diabetes Risk? Anxiety disorders and general anxiety around life changes, financial trouble, family problems, and relationships are rife today. It is something you might even take as par for the course with 21st-century living. But if someone told you that your anxiety issues may also spill over into your physical and metabolic health, causing diabetes, would that change things? With some researchers uncovering links between anxiety issues and diabetes, it may be time to take charge and find a way to nip your anxiety problem in the bud. Having a metabolic disorder or problem like diabetes can make a person understandably concerned, even anxious. But what if your anxiety itself could lead to diabetes, or worsen your condition if youre already diabetic? Some studies find that this might, in fact, be the case. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, a sizable 40 percent of all people with diabetes have some anxiety symptoms, while 14 percent have actually been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.1 While it is widely accepted that poor blood sugar control in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes causes anxiety, there is now evidence that anxiety itself could bring on diabetes in some people. Unholy Trinity: Stress, Anxiety, And Diabetes For years, even centuries now, theories on how diabetes is more common among those with more stressful or sorrowful lives have done the rounds. Dr. W. Menninger, an American psychiatrist, went so far as to suggest there was a typical diabetic personality. As one review of multiple studies found, chronic emotional stress is a well-known risk factor in the occurrence of depression. Later studies have also established a link between type 2 diabetes and depression. The sequence of stress triggering an Continue reading >>
Struggles With Panic Attacks
First, I want to address a question that Envoy posted on my blog entry from two weeks ago. Envoy asked if I thought that depression was more common in people who have diabetes. The first answer is that I have always believed it is more common, and research has also indicated that it’s twice as likely to occur in people who have diabetes. That is part of the reason I suggest a yearly mental health checkup in conjunction with your annual physical. The percentage of people with diabetes who experience depression is quite significant, in the range of 20%. Hopefully, your health-care professional asks you questions about your moods, energy level, activities, sleep, and connections with other people at appointments. An open discussion of this type can give him or her enough information to begin an assessment for depression. It makes sense that controlling diabetes would be made more difficult if depression is left untreated. However, fewer than 25% of cases of depression in people with diabetes are recognized and treated appropriately. We clearly have a lot of work to do in improving mental health care for people with diabetes. Another mental health issue that has been shown to interfere with people’s diabetes control is panic disorder. Panic disorder is characterized by unpredictable, excessive fear or terror accompanied by a number of physical symptoms. Symptoms may include pounding heart, palpitations, sweating, difficulty breathing, numbness or tingling sensations, chest pain, dizziness, nausea, trembling or shaking, and chills or hot flashes. Many of these are similar to symptoms of hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, and they could also resemble a heart attack. Therefore, a person may overreact (by visiting the emergency room, for example) or, thinking that his symp Continue reading >>
Does Emotional Stress Cause Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus? A Review From The European Depression In Diabetes (edid) Research Consortium.
Abstract According to the World Health Organization, approximately 220 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes mellitus. Patients with type 2 diabetes not only have a chronic disease to cope with, they are also at increased risk for coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy. The exact causes of type 2 diabetes are still not clear. Since the 17th century, it has been suggested that emotional stress plays a role in the etiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus. So far, review studies have mainly focused on depression as a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Yet, chronic emotional stress is an established risk factor for the development of depression. The present review provides an overview of mainly prospective epidemiological studies that have investigated the associations between different forms of emotional stress and the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Results of longitudinal studies suggest that not only depression but also general emotional stress and anxiety, sleeping problems, anger, and hostility are associated with an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. Conflicting results were found regarding childhood neglect, life events, and work stress. It is important to emphasize that publication-bias may have occurred, resulting from "fishing-expeditions," where authors search their data for significant associations. Publication bias may also be caused by the tendency of reviewers and Editors to reject manuscripts with negative results for publication. It is therefore essential that research groups, who aim to conduct a new epidemiological cohort study, prospectively describe and publish the design of their study. Future research should focus on identifying mechanism Continue reading >>
Diabetes Is Associated With Anxiety Symptoms
Research shows that moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms, an indication of a potential anxiety disorder, affect one in five people with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes and one in six with type 1 diabetes or non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes. Dr Adriana Ventura, Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) and registered psychologist, who conducted the study, says the prevalence of elevated anxiety symptoms and disorders in people with diabetes is within the range of general population estimates. However, having anxiety and diabetes poses additional challenges. “Living with diabetes can be difficult enough, managing healthy living, medications and monitoring, and fitting these into daily life. Experiencing anxiety as well adds to the burden, and can impact on both their medical outcomes and quality of life,” said Dr Ventura. Detecting anxiety among people with diabetes can be difficult, as some of the symptoms share similar physical symptoms to hypoglycaemia (high blood glucose levels). The relationship between diabetes and anxiety disorders needs to be further explored. For some people, diabetes may be completely unrelated to their anxiety – they just coexist – while for others, it may be that living with diabetes leads to feelings of anxiety. In response to the research, a resource from the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) highlights the impact of anxiety on diabetes management, and how to identify elevated anxiety symptoms. The resource, which was developed by the ACBRD in collaboration with Diabetes Australia, is titled: Diabetes and emotional health: A handbook for health professionals supporting adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Dr Christel Hendrieckx, Senior Research Fellow and a clinical psychologist Continue reading >>
Can Hypoglycemia Cause Anxiety?
Diabetes and issues with blood sugar are all over the news. Every day there are more and more reports of the effects that foods and chemicals have on your long term health, and it's not uncommon to worry about developing these types of problems. That's why so many people with anxiety wonder if they have hypoglycemia - or low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia occurs when there is not enough glucose in the body, starving the brain. This article explores whether or not hypoglycemia may be causing your anxiety and how. You Can Manage Hypoglycemia Anxiety Even if your anxiety is related to your blood sugar levels, you can control it with the right anxiety treatments. Take my anxiety test to look at the symptoms of your anxiety and recommend an effective treatment option. Worried About Hypoglycemia? See a Doctor Your blood sugar is one of the easiest things to diagnose. You can take a simple blood test after fasting for 12 hours and have results in no time. So if you're worried about your blood sugar, talk to your doctor. You should also take my free anxiety test to find out more about your anxiety. Health Causes of Anxiety Most people that suffer from anxiety worry that it has a physical cause. In fact, one of the main problems affecting those with anxiety attacks is the constant, nagging feeling that the physical symptoms are too severe to be something as "harmless" as anxiety, and they often look for other explanations for why they may be feeling these symptoms. First, you need to remember that anxiety causes you to think this way. Anxiety alters thought processes so that "worst case scenario" thinking is more common. In addition, anxiety symptoms can be incredibly severe, and genuinely mimic the symptoms of major health disorders. As much as it may seem hard to believe, your symp Continue reading >>
Could Stress Give You Diabetes? It's Not Just The Overweight Who Are At Risk, Doctors Warn
The popular image of a patient with type 2 diabetes is someone who's overweight, with a couch-potato lifestyle. It's a stereotype that makes salesman Dave Dowdeswell furious. The father-of-two, now 48, developed the condition at the age of 44 when he had a 32 in waist and weighed only 12 st - almost ideal for his 5 ft 9 in height. As a keen windsurfer and diver who also walked his dog every day, he was physically fit. There was no family history of type 2 diabetes, and he doesn't even have a sweet tooth. In fact, Dave ticked none of the normal risk-factor boxes, such as being overweight or having a waist of 37 in or more. So how did he become one of almost three million people in the UK with type 2? His doctors believe the trigger was stress. In the 12 months before he began to feel unwell, he had witnessed his 19-year-old daughter Gemma being knocked over by a car and breaking her neck after a family meal out; his thriving paint-spraying business had collapsed because of falling trade and teetered on the verge of bankruptcy, and his beloved bulldog died. Then, in November 2010, Dave unexpectedly lost his 70-year-old father to cirrhosis of the liver. 'That really hit me for six. He went into hospital and never came out,' says Dave, who lives in Portsmouth. 'He went downhill so quickly and I couldn't believe it when he died. We were close and it hit me so badly.' Within a week Dave started to feel ill himself. 'I was suddenly needing to get up two or three times a night to have a pee. 'I was also drinking around two pints of orange juice in one go, and I couldn't wait to finish a meal so I could have a drink of water or orange juice as I felt so thirsty. 'We were on a scuba-diving holiday in Egypt at the time, but my wife Adriana said: "As soon as we get home, I think yo Continue reading >>
Can Stress And Depression Cause Type 2 Diabetes?
Can Stress and Depression Cause Type 2 Diabetes? Can stress trigger the onset of type 2 diabetes in someone who is not obese? I have been active most of my life, but slowed down in my desk job over the past few years. I was diagnosed with type 2 in 2006, and the only link that seems plausible to me is that at that time I was suffering from deep depression, which was later diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder. Name Withheld Mary de Groot, PhD, responds: Over the past 20 years, we have learned that people with diabetes are twice as likely to experience depression as people without diabetes. When people with diabetes have depression, it is more difficult to manage blood glucose and to stick to treatment plans like medication and regular exercise. Studies have shown depression to be associated with diabetes complications and even early death. Most recently, a series of studies in which individuals were followed over a period of 10 to 20 years found that people who have a history of major depression have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. We do not yet know definitively how depression, stress, and diabetes are related. But here's the good news: Depression can be successfully treated in people with diabetes. There are a number of antidepressant medications that have been found to be effective. It is important to talk with your doctor about these medications and which one or ones may be the best for you. It is also important to keep in mind that antidepressant medications need time to take effect (typically two to six weeks), should be taken as prescribed (daily), and should be changed or stopped only on the advice of your health care provider. It is not uncommon for patients to be prescribed more than one medication before finding the right Continue reading >>
Tips For Managing Diabetes And Anxiety
A few weeks ago I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with one of my oldest and closest friends. After an amazing day hiking and visiting the temples of Angkor Watt, we rewarded ourselves with a nice dinner in town. After programming my pump for my dinner bolus, as I returned to chatting with my friend, I felt the familiar feeling of my insulin pump vibrating. When it continued beyond the normal length, I double-checked. “Button Error.” During my entire 12 years of using an insulin pump, I had never received this error. I didn’t even know what it meant. Soon after, my pump stopped working and major anxiety set in. Anxiety is normal part of life, for everyone. Symptoms of anxiety include general feelings of worry, being “keyed up,” or on edge, racing heart and sweating. In the most basic form, anxiety is our body’s way of telling us to pay attention, because something important, fearful or unusual is going on. In many situations, anxiety is adaptive and helpful. Anxiety before a test can motivate us to study and anxiety about walking down a street alone at night can help deter us from potentially dangerous situations. For individuals with diabetes, anxiety is an extremely common issue. Not only do we have to all of life’s normal issues to contend with, but we also have the stress and anxiety that come with managing a chronic disease. Even in situations less severe than the one I described above, feelings anxiety related to the complexity and expense of self-management and blood sugar control, potential long-term complications, and hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic episodes are common. When anxiety becomes severe and overly intrusive, an anxiety disorder is often diagnosed. Anxiety disorders are also common among individuals with diabetes, and 13% of young adults with d Continue reading >>
It’s normal to feel anxious or worried at times. Everyone does. In fact, a moderate amount of anxiety can be good. It helps you respond appropriately to real danger, and it can help motivate you to excel at work and at home. But if you often feel anxious without reason and your worries disrupt your daily life, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders cause excessive or unrealistic anxiety and worry about life circumstances, usually without a readily identifiable cause. Little is known about the relationship between diabetes and anxiety. Recent evidence suggests that the rate of anxiety disorders is elevated in people with type 1 diabetes. It is estimated that 14% of people with diabetes have generalized anxiety disorder. As many as 40% of people have at least some anxiety symptoms, and fear of hypoglycemia is not uncommon in those with diabetes. Anxiety disorders in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes may be associated with poor blood sugar control. Signs & symptoms of anxiety The signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can vary in combination or severity. They may include: Restlessness Feeling of being tense or on edge Feeling a lump in your throat Difficulty concentrating Fatigue Irritability Impatience Being easily distracted Muscle tension Trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia) Excessive sweating Shortness of breath Stomach ache Diarrhea Headache Treatment of anxiety The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are medication (anti-anxiety drugs and/or anti-depressants) and psychotherapy ("talk therapy"), either alone or in combination. If you have difficulty controlling your worries, or if anxiety interferes with your daily life, speak with your doctor, diabetes health-care team or mental health professional. Continue reading >>
The Emotional Side Of Diabetes
Dealing with diabetes puts a lot of attention on blood glucose monitoring and insulin and medications—and those are important, of course. But there is an emotional side to diabetes and effects on your mental health that should be addressed, too. Diabetes interrupts your workday when you have to check your blood glucose. Diabetes means you can't just grab food whenever you want—you have to plan for it. Diabetes prolongs getting ready in the morning as you wash and inspect your feet. Diabetes frustrates you when your taste buds cry out for a pastry instead of an apple. Diabetes makes you worry about your future. All of the time, effort, money, and stress interrupts your emotional stability and introduces emotional complications—and it's okay to be frustrated or overwhelmed or scared. Diabetes and "Being in Control" Let's face it: most of us like being in control, and we don't like feeling that anything is out of our control. When it comes to diabetes, you can feel simultaneously in control and out of control. Out of control: Because of how diabetes affects your body, it is possible to feel that nothing is in your control anymore. You can't eat what you want when you want. You have to take medications or give yourself injections. You can start, perhaps, to feel that your body isn't your own anymore. How to counteract that "out of control" feeling: Taking a step back and an objective look at the situation may help. You can say to yourself, "Yes, diabetes makes me do these things, but diabetes does not run my life." A mantra along those lines—repeated at moments when you're feeling particularly out of control—can help. Also, you can do a mental mind shift: all these steps you're taking to manage your diabetes are actually proactive, healthy steps. You are taking co Continue reading >>
Stress Related To Managing Type 1 Diabetes
Almost three million Americans are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually. Formerly known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 affects mostly children, but adults have also been diagnosed. Those with type 1 cannot produce their own insulin, a hormone that regulates sugar levels in the blood. Thus, they must inject insulin into their bodies to compensate for the absence. When glycated haemoglobin, or HbA1c, levels in the blood are above average, patients are diagnosed with diabetes. After diagnosis, the lives for type 1 diabetics can be difficult to manage with all the daily insulin injections and careful diet monitoring. Such drastically adjusted schedules often take away from one's quality of life. This can lead to more health issues such as anxiety and depression. Led by Ragnhild Bjarkøy Strandberg, a study published in the September 2014 issue of Journal of Psychosomatic Research sought to determine if there was a relationship between the emotional distress revolving around diabetes and levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Studying Levels of Emotional Distress in Diabetics Recruited from an outpatient clinic, 235 individuals from ages 18 to 69 with type 1 diabetes participated in the study. Of the sample, 135 were male and 100 were female. Blood samples were taken from all participants to measure HbA1c levels. The average HbA1c level for the sample was 8.1%—the average level for someone without diabetes ranges from 4.5% to 6.5%. After HbA1c levels were recorded, Strandberg assessed levels of emotional distress using the following tools: Problem Areas in Diabetes Survey (PAID): 20-item survey assessing emotional responses. Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS): 17-item scale measuring emotional burdens, physician-related stress, regimen-related stress, and diabetes-related stress. H Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Anxiety
Tweet Anxiety can be defined as a fear-based mental state, normally felt as a discomforting emotional state accompanied with physical sensations in the body. Anxiety based mental disorders (i.e. people diagnosed with SAD or GAD) are people who appear anxious about almost everything. This has a detrimental effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. What are the symptoms of anxiety? Symptoms include excessive worry and unnecessary anxiety for numerous activities with symptoms being present and continuous for a minimum of 6 months. Anxiety is difficult to control and is accompanied by somatic symptoms including: Shaking Heart palpitations Excessive perspiration Crying Often it will be a state of mind that is reached after years of dealing with the condition. People diagnosed with diabetes are approximately 20% more likely to suffer from anxiety than those without diabetes.  What are the causes of anxiety? Being diagnosed with diabetes can instigate anxiety in a number of ways. People with diabetes may potentially be anxious about how their condition will be perceived by others including friends, family and work colleagues. Anxiety may also arise over what could happen if they were experience a hypo while driving or whilst looking after their children. Excessive worrying can lead to social anxiety. Symptoms of social anxiety include Being fearful of leaving the house or place of comfort Anxiety of being around people, known or strangers Avoidance of social interaction Why might I be anxious? People diagnosed with diabetes may be anxious about the long term implications of their condition. Greater than 70%, of diabetics could develop macrovascular conditions including heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, between 5% and 10% are reported to experie Continue reading >>