The Diabetes/Stress Connection

June 11, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

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stress.jpgIf you are having a hard time figuring out why your blood glucose levels are high and you feel you have every other area of your diabetes lifestyle under control, consider the stressors in your life.

Stress releases hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that will increase your blood glucose levels. While this is good on a temporary basis to provide energy to deal with a threatening fight or flight situation, chronic stress keeps your glucose levels elevated which can create insulin resistance and high glucose levels.

There are however those rare individuals out there whose response to stress is a severe DROP in blood sugar.

Dealing with life is stressful. Dealing with life and diabetes is a double whammy.

How do you respond to stress?

  • Do you self medicate with food?
  • Road rage?
  • Smoking?
  • Alcohol?
  • Do you exercise more?
  • Clean the house when you are upset?
  • Do you get depressed when you are stressed?
  • Are tears your way of responding to stress?

Were your coping strategies on the list? Are they productive long term strategies? Do you consider action/response of your body when you utilize those coping mechanisms?
Like anything else, the more you feel in control the better you feel.

The basic way to manage stress is with balance: a balance of sleep, exercise and relaxation.

The experts at the Mayo Clinic say to TAKE STRESS SERIOUSLY! “If you’re stressed, it’s easy to abandon your usual diabetes care routine. The hormones your body may produce in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly, which only makes matters worse. To take control, set limits. Prioritize your tasks. Learn relaxation techniques. Get plenty of sleep.”

Specific therapeutic tools to manage stress and get back control:

  • Biofeedback. Biofeedback is one measurable tool. Biofeedback is a methodology which utilizes techniques to assist patients to control body function such as blood pressure and heart beat and muscle tension by responding to their own body reactions. The Continuum Center for Health and Healing describes biofeedback or self-regulation, this way: “…the ability to observe oneself and acquire the skills needed to make changes in one’s physiology, behavior, or even lifestyle in order to promote well-being and health.”
  • Relaxation Techniques: these include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and yoga.
  • Journaling: Journaling not only allows you to get your issues out but allows you a way to work through your problems and stressors.
  • Support Groups: Consider online support groups and communities where you can openly discuss issues that are unique to diabetics.

Battling Books:

The Mind-Body Diabetes Revolution: The Proven Way to Control Your Blood Sugar by Managing Stress, Depression, Anger and other Emotions by

Diabetes Burnout:What to Do When You Can’t Take It Anymore


American Diabetes Association–Stress: All About Diabetes

Duke Medical News:Stress Management Can Help Control Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetic Communities Online:

Children With Diabetes Online Community

Diabetic Community . Com

Diabetic Connect

Diabetes Teen Talk

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3 Responses to “The Diabetes/Stress Connection”
  1. Thanks for stopping by and posting Michelle. I use a muscle relaxation tape myself. I find it very useful.

  2. Michelle says:

    Excellent article…..and the truth is that stress is at the core of many diseases. So getting your stress under control is going to not only benefit you concerning your diabetes but it will also improve your overall wellbeing!

    I used biofeedback to help deal with a chronic illness and found it to be incredibly beneficial in regaining my health!

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