Managing diabetes alone can be stressful and always staying within the normal range is always a big thing. But can stress affect blood sugar levels? Yes they do, and it is vital as a patient to learn how to manage it. I know we already have a lot to do in our lives and even small things like a traffic jam or running late can make our stress meter touch the other end of the dial. But since these stress hormones affect the glucose levels directly, it is essential that it be controlled.Can Stress Affect Blood Sugar? If So, How?
77 percent of people experience stress that affects their physical health.
There are two kinds of stress that can cause the blood sugars to rise.
- Physical Stress
- Mental Stress
When we talk about physical stress, it refers to:
Physical stress generally causes the blood sugar levels to rise.
On the other hand, mental stress causes mixed emotions and effects, depending on the type of diabetes that that patient is diagnosed with.
- For Type 1 Diabetes– Mental stress tends to either increase or decrease the sugar levels in the body.
- For Type 2 Diabetes– Mental stress only increases the blood sugar levels.
When Stress & Blood Sugar Levels Join Hands?
The body is actually designed in such a way, that when in stress, it thinks that you need to run away from a predator. So it reacts by increasing your heart pumping, quickness in breadth and it gets ready releasing the extra energy that is stored in the body. This response is called the fight-and-flight response.
So what actually happens during this response is that hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released into your blood stream. This causes your breath to quicken. It also directs the blood into your limbs and other muscles giving it the energy to run. Since your hormone levels are high during this stage, it causes your nerve cells to be on fire. Due to this, the extra glucose that is released, may not be processed by the body, if you have diabetic. This will allow the glucose to pile up in your blood causing the blood sugar to remain high.
One of the main problems nowadays is that our bodies’ idea of stress is designed for a short term period. But now, the stress hormones are being turned on for a longer period, and as a result, it increases the blood sugar level for a longer period.
A research was conducted on how can stress affect blood sugar. It was found that mice that had diabetes had a much higher level of blood sugar levels when it was under stressed conditions. It was both mental and physical. The effects on people with Type 1 diabetes are always mixed, whereas, for people with Type 2 diabetes, the blood sugar always seems to decrease.
Due to stress, you might tend to forget about taking care of your blood sugar levels. It will disrupt your routine, which might also be a reason for varied sugar levels.
- Without you realizing it, you might be exercising more or less.
- You might not be eating healthy foods like you used to be.
- The amount of food that you consume, might be more or less.
- You might forget to test your blood sugar levels at the right time.
- Without any intention, you might also forget your daily medications or insulin.
How To Know If Stress Is Affecting The Sugar Levels?
Keeping track of your stress levels and your sugar levels at the same time can help in determining if stress affects your sugar levels. All you have to do is rate the level of your mental stress from 1 to 10, where 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Next to that you can jot down your blood sugar levels.
In logs, like this, it is important that you also note down some of the detailing. Like if you had a stressed day at work, the next time you would know, that you will have to control your sugar levels, next time. After a few weeks, you will find a pattern and if your sugar levels are going up, you will know the reason and you can control it. If you find that your sugar levels are constantly high, then you must work towards bringing it down.
How To De-Stress Yourself?
Here are a few healthy tips that will help you to be stress-free.
1. Practice Yoga
You can start the day with yoga, or get involved in meditation. You can also take early morning walks, which will be good to reduce stress.
2. Take Deep Breaths
Before you start off with any activity, you can take three, slow, deep breaths, which will help you be in control of the situation.
3. Leisure Sundays
Take the Sundays as a day of relaxation, like a day for family or worship. Don’t spend your day in doing any kind of outdoor activity like getting your grocery shopping done or mowing the lawn etc.
4. Try Getting A Massage
It is vital that you work towards giving yourself some time. You will feel instantly relieved when you get a foot massage or a body massage. Research also says that it helps in strengthening the immunity by increasing the production of the white blood cells, helps to reduce stress hormones and lowers blood pressure levels. So why not just relax, and get yourself pampered once in a while!
5. Enroll In An Exercise Class
Is the word exercise just making you think again? Well, you could always opt for other forms of exercise like rock climbing, fencing, dance or Zumba. As long as you get your body moving, you will get a great cardiovascular workout. This is proven to be just as effective as depression medication. Feel free to move around, that is sure to keep you healthy.
Well, we got to know that stress does have an effect on the sugar levels directly. So it is up to us to take a break during the weeks and manage the weekends too. If you feel really stressed out, you can check your sugar levels and act accordingly. But make sure that you do not put yourself in that situation and remember to take care of yourself. Stress can lead to a lot of problems, so get it, before it gets you.