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 >>
5 Ways Your Stress Can Worsen Your Diabetes
Stress aggravates diabetes. Stress raises blood sugar levels, activates fat cells, impairs glucose tolerance, increases insulin resistance and impacts blood pressure. It’s a Catch-22: Diabetes gets you stressed out and the stress worsens your diabetes. Do you sometimes feel like your entire life is centered on your diabetes? When you’re snacking, you’re thinking about your blood sugar level. When you’re exercising, you’re nervous to work your body too hard. When you’re at work, you make sure you have a snack on you at all time or extra insulin shots. When you’re at home, your spouse and children try to not eat their favorite sweets around you. The stress of constantly thinking about diabetes can take a toll on your body. We know that stress is not just bad for our mental health, but also bad for our physical health. This includes your diabetes and its often undiagnosed companion, hypertension. It’s not bad to be a little more conscious or concerned about your health—but high stress levels can negatively impact your body and potentially worsen your condition. High stress can worsen your diabetes in 5 different ways: 1. Stress raises blood sugar levels Why does extra tension in your body cause your blood sugar to go up even if you haven’t eaten anything? There are a number of factors that go into this, but a primary reason is that stress triggers the body to release cortisol, which is a hormone that helps the body get through tough situations (the fight-or-flight situations). When cortisol comes out to play, your heart rate and breathing speed up. This also sends glucose and protein stores from your liver into the blood to make energy immediately available to your muscles. In other words, your body releases sugar into the blood so that the energy can g Continue reading >>
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 >>
Does Psychological Stress Cause Diabetes?
Abstract Many patients believe that their diabetes has been caused by stress or an adverse life event. Whereas there is strong evidence that psychological stress is related to a deterioration in glycaemic control in established diabetes, there is much less evidence that psychological stress can cause diabetes in humans de novo. It seems more likely that psychological stress produces a deterioration in glycaemia in the non-symptomatic patient which in turn makes diabetic symptoms and the diagnosis evident. The pathogenic mechanisms which have been suggested to relate psychological stress to diabetes are described and reviewed. Continue reading >>
Does Emotional Stress Cause Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus? A Review From The European Depression In Diabetes (edid) Research Consortium
Specialty: Psychiatry, Epidemiology, Endocrinology Institution: Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic Diseases (CoRPS), Tilburg University Address: Tilburg, Netherlands Author: Nina Kupper Specialty: Psychology, Biology Institution: Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic Diseases (CoRPS), Tilburg University Address: Tilburg, Netherlands Author: Marcel C Adriaanse Specialty: Epidemiology, Psychology Institution: Section of Prevention and Public Health, Department of Health Sciences and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Amsterdam Address: Amsterdam, 1081 HV, Netherlands 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. Conf 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 And Stress
Stress, whether physical stress or mental stress, has been proven to instigate changes in blood sugar levels, which for people with diabetes can be problematic. While stress can affect diabetes control, both directly and indirectly, it can also be caused by various diabetic factors such as being diagnosed with diabetes, adjusting to a diabetes treatment regimen, or dealing with psychosocial pressures of the disease. What is stress? Simply out, stress is a state of emotional strain or tension that occurs when we feel that we can't cope with pressure. When we become stressed, the body quickly responds by releasing hormones that give cells access to stored energy - fat and glucose - to help the body get away from danger. This instinctive physiological response to perceived threats is known as the "fight-freeze, or flight" response. Over time, both physical and mental stress can wear us down mentally and lead to depression and other mental health issues. What can cause stress? We live in a very stressful society which is constantly putting us under pressure. This pressure can sometimes be too much to handle, leading us to feel "stressed out". This everyday feeling can be caused by simple things such as: Work pressure Marriage and relationships Parenting/children Health problems such as diabetes (see below) Financial insecurity Traffic Diabetes causing stress? Being told you have diabetes, or any serious chronic condition for that matter, can also cause a lot of stress and pressure. This can make it harder to control blood sugar levels which, in most cases, only adds to the frustration and stress. How does stress affect my diabetes? It is widely recognised that people with diabetes are who regularly stressed are more likely to have poor blood glucose control. One of the reas Continue reading >>
Stress And Diabetes: A Review Of The Links
Evidence suggests that stressful experiences might affect diabetes, in terms of both its onset and its exacerbation. In this article, the authors review some of this evidence and consider ways in which stress might affect diabetes, both through physiological mechanisms and via behavior. They also discuss the implications of this for clinical practice and care. In recent years, the complexities of the relationship between stress and diabetes have become well known but have been less well researched. Some studies have suggested that stressful experiences might affect the onset and/or the metabolic control of diabetes, but findings have often been inconclusive. In this article, we review some of this research before going on to consider how stress might affect diabetes control and the physiological mechanisms through which this may occur. Finally, we discuss the implications for clinical practice and care. Before going any further, however, the meaning of the term stress must be clarified because it can be used in different ways. Stress may be thought of as a) a physiological response to an external stimulus, or b) a psychological response to external stimuli, or c) stressful events themselves, which can be negative or positive or both. In this article, we address all three aspects of stress: stressful events or experiences (sometimes referred to as stressors) and the physiological and psychological/behavioral responses to these. Role of Stress in the Onset of Diabetes Stressful experiences have been implicated in the onset of diabetes in individuals already predisposed to developing the disease. As early as the beginning of the 17th century, the onset of diabetes was linked to “prolonged sorrow” by an English physician.1 Since then, a number of research studies have i 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 >>
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 >>
Stress: How It Affects Diabetes And How To Decrease It
Diabetes management is a lifelong process. This can add stress to your daily life. Stress can be a major barrier to effective glucose control. Stress hormones in your body may directly affect glucose levels. If you’re experiencing stress or feeling threatened, your body reacts. This is called the fight-or-flight response. This response elevates your hormone levels and causes your nerve cells to fire. During this response, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream and your respiratory rates increase. Your body directs blood to the muscles and limbs, allowing you to fight the situation. Your body may not be able to process the glucose released by your firing nerve cells if you have diabetes. If you can’t convert the glucose into energy, it builds up in the bloodstream. This causes your blood glucose levels to rise. Constant stress from long-term problems with blood glucose can also wear you down mentally and physically. This may make managing your diabetes difficult. Stress can affect people differently. The type of stress that you experience can also have an impact on your body’s physical response. When people with type 2 diabetes are under mental stress, they generally experience an increase in their blood glucose levels. People with type 1 diabetes may have a more varied response. This means that they can experience either an increase or a decrease in their blood glucose levels. When you’re under physical stress, your blood sugar can also increase. This can happen when you’re sick or injured. This can affect people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Keeping track of additional information, such as the date and what you were doing at the time you were stressed, may help you determine specific triggers. For example, are you more stressed on 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 >>
Stress And Diabetes Mellitus.
Abstract Stress is a potential contributor to chronic hyperglycemia in diabetes. Stress has long been shown to have major effects on metabolic activity. Energy mobilization is a primary result of the fight or flight response. Stress stimulates the release of various hormones, which can result in elevated blood glucose levels. Although this is of adaptive importance in a healthy organism, in diabetes, as a result of the relative or absolute lack of insulin, stress-induced increases in glucose cannot be metabolized properly. Furthermore, regulation of these stress hormones may be abnormal in diabetes. However, evidence characterizing the effects of stress in type I diabetes is contradictory. Although some retrospective human studies have suggested that stress can precipitate type I diabetes, animal studies have shown that stressors of various kinds can precipitate--or prevent--various experimental models of the disease. Human studies have shown that stress can stimulate hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, or have no affect at all on glycemic status in established diabetes. Much of this confusion may be attributable to the presence of autonomic neuropathy, common in type I diabetes. In contrast, more consistent evidence supports the role of stress in type II diabetes. Although human studies on the role of stress in the onset and course of type II diabetes are few, a large body of animal study supports the notion that stress reliably produces hyperglycemia in this form of the disease. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence of autonomic contributions to the pathophysiology of this condition in both animals and humans. Continue reading >>
Can Stress Cause Type 2 Diabetes?
The idea that stress can cause type 2 diabetes is not new but recent media coverage of Dave Dowdeswell from the UK who, along with his doctors, believe the only explanation for his diabetes is extreme stress, has prompted discussion around this idea as another possible explanation for why many fit and otherwise healthy people can develop type 2 diabetes. At 44 Mr Dowdeswell, a keen windsurfer and diver, was not overweight and had no family history of diabetes. However, in the 12 months prior to his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes he had experienced a series of traumatic life events. His doctors believe the extreme stress he lived through could have been the trigger for diabetes. One theory is that the stress hormone cortisol may alter the body’s sensitivity to insulin. While scientists are not in agreement over whether this means stress itself is a direct cause of diabetes or just a risk factor, there are some compelling arguments and research is continuing in this area. A recent contribution to the debate comes from research funded by the Department of Defense in the US that find links between post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and an increase in type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity. The study is still in its preliminary stages and other factors are being investigated as to why some people develop PTSD in the first place (such as stress response genetics) but initial findings make a definite link between war-related stress and depression on poor general health outcomes. In 2013 a 35 year prospective follow-up study of 7,500 middle-aged men in Sweden found a strong link between stress and diabetes risk. Levels of stress were graded by the participants and it was found that men who reported permanent stress had a 45% Continue reading >>
Stress And Diabetes
Stress, both physical and mental, can send your blood sugar out of whack. If you have diabetes, try these tips to keep stress under control. WebMD Feature It's hard to dispute that most of us live life at breakneck speed. It's the nature of a fast-paced society, where numerous family, social, and work obligations can easily overpower your precious time and resources. But for people with diabetes, both physical and emotional stress can take a greater toll on health. When you're stressed, your blood sugar levels rise. Stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol kick in since one of their major functions is to raise blood sugar to help boost energy when it's needed most. Think of the fight-or-flight response. You can't fight danger when your blood sugar is low, so it rises to help meet the challenge. Both physical and emotional stress can prompt an increase in these hormones, resulting in an increase in blood sugars. People who aren't diabetic have compensatory mechanisms to keep blood sugar from swinging out of control. But in people with diabetes, those mechanisms are either lacking or blunted, so they can't keep a lid on blood sugar, says David Sledge, MD, medical director of diabetes management at The Ochsner Clinic Foundation in Baton Rouge, La. When blood sugar levels aren't controlled well through diet and/or medication, you're at higher risk for many health complications, including blindness, kidney problems, and nerve damage leading to foot numbness, which can lead to serious injury and hard-to-heal infections. Prolonged elevated blood sugar is also a predecessor to cardiovascular disease, which increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. "In diabetes, because of either an absolute lack of insulin, such as type 1 diabetes, or a relative lack of insulin, such Continue reading >>