Mental stress and physical stress can affect your body in more ways than you can imagine. Doctors have been trying to prove the correlation between stress and diabetes for centuries. Finally, in a 2010 study, doctors were able to reveal that those with depression and anxiety have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes. But how does diabetes and stress affect your body?
Physical stress, or stress caused by injury, also makes it difficult to manage blood sugar. It may lead to an increase in blood sugar.
In this article, we will discuss mental stress and how that affects your diabetes.
Diabetes And Stress – How Does Stress Affect Your Body?
A series of steps take place when your body is under stress. The kidneys produce stress hormones like cortisol. Small amounts of cortisol help us get through difficult times but when you are constantly stressed the excess amounts of stress hormones in our body causes more harm than good.
Over time, when you are stressed for too long, your body goes into conservation mode and your organs start to conserve more energy.
The brain signals your stomach to send hunger pangs. That’s why you tend to eat more when you are hungry and you crave for high-calorie fatty food. Don’t be surprised if you reach out for that last slice of pizza – it’s your stress acting up.
Since you eat more than you burn, you are far more likely to gain extra pounds around your waist. The extra inches around the waistline lead to insulin resistance and hence you have trouble keeping your blood sugar under control when you are under stress.
Even if you have your eating under control, stress changes the way your organs work – this includes your pancreas. The pancreas is not as effective under stress and hence it may not produce enough insulin, or it may produce too much insulin.
Type one diabetics may have both high and low blood sugar when they are stressed whereas type two diabetics will mostly have high blood sugar.
Other Reasons For Poor Blood Sugar Management During Stressful Times
Other reasons for poor blood sugar management is when diabetics forget to take their medicines or take care of themselves during stressful times.
You may have some crazy deadlines, or you are going through a very difficult time and you may forget to manage your blood sugar – this includes everything from taking your medicines on time to sleeping on time. This will directly affect your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes does not take a hiatus when we are stressed, it hits us harder instead! So, no matter how stressed you are, you need to have your meds on time, make sure you get enough sleep, have your meals on time and you must exercise regularly.
Is Stress Affecting My Diabetes?
How can you be sure if your stress is affecting your diabetes? It’s simple, check your blood sugar levels multiple times throughout the day when you are stressed.
If your blood sugar is fluctuating too much even after you take your medications, it may be an indication that diabetes is affecting your stress levels.
5 Ways To Manage Your Stress Levels
It is absolutely crucial that you manage your stress to make sure that your blood sugar levels are under control. Here are some ways to reduce stress:
1. Practising Mindfulness
Studies show that those who practice mindfulness are able to better manage their stress and diabetes.
However, there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. So, if you are interested in mindfulness, you should look at credible sources and talk to experienced people. Practice mindfulness at the same time every day with some professional guidance. If you are dedicated, you will see changes in your stress levels over time.
2. Take A Breather
If you can’t take it anymore. Get up and remove yourself from all the tension. Sometimes, it only takes a bit of fresh air to give you a fresh perspective.
You aren’t going to get the work done any faster when your mind is clouded up with all the stress, so get up, take a walk, get some fresh air and then come back to work. You are going to feel so much better.
3. Make Some Sacrifices
Most of the times, we are stressed because we take on too much than we can chew. Apart from work, we have other responsibilities too – being good parents, taking care of older parents, responsibilities in the society etc – responsibilities don’t end.
If stress is getting in the way of everything, you may have to make a few sacrifices. Make a list of all the things you do and all the things you don’t have time for anymore.
For instance, if dropping your child to school is a challenge, you should consider registering for the school bus. Similarly, if you are taking too many projects for work that it is becoming stressful, you should take a step back and reconsider the amount of work you want to take up.
4. Talk To Your Boss
One major reason for added stress is a stressful office environment or a crazy commute to and from work. If your work is a reason for your stress, you should consider talking to your boss and find a compromise.
If you handle the discussion well, you can keep your job and manage your stress at the same time. If your work allows for a work from home option, consider talking to your boss and enable that option.
5. Talk To A Therapist
Lastly, you should not take your mental health for granted. We still have a stigma around mental health and visiting therapists. But your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
A therapist will give you the tools needed to work on your depression and anxiety and to keep it under control. If you feel that your mental health is getting in the way of your work and your diabetes, now is the right time to talk to a doctor.
We hope this article was helpful. Stress is a terrible thing but you can always get it under control. What do you do to manage your stress? Share your thoughts with us, we are always eager to hear your thoughts.