Managing Stress While Living with Diabetes

Having diabetes can be scary because it elevates your risk for other health problems. Understand the ways of managing stress while living with Diabetes in our guide below.

Stress is becoming very common, with as many as 75% of adult Americans experiencing it. Diabetes is another epidemic that is sweeping across our nation. One out of every ten people has the disease, whereas every third person is prediabetic.

If the two issues are combined, the situation becomes even worse. There are various links between diabetes and stress. For example, stress levels may rise when people with diabetes plan meals and monitor their blood sugar levels on a regular basis, especially in the early stages of the disease. 

Managing Stress While Living with Diabetes

As a side effect of stress, blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin levels may rise. In this post, we’ll look at how stress affects blood sugar levels. To that end, we’ll examine the best ways to deal with diabetes-related stress.

What is Stress?

How your body and mind react to stressful situations is known as stress. A short-term issue, such as a presentation you have to make the next day or a long-term one, might be the source of your anxiety. It may be something as simple as going to a party on a weekend when you don’t know anybody. 

Alternatively, you might be preoccupied with issues that aren’t as urgent but are ongoing, like money, a relationship, or coping with the loss of a loved one. You might have an injury or sickness that can cause stress. 

Link Between Diabetes and Stress 

Diabetes control is a lifelong process. As a consequence, you may encounter more stress in your daily life. At the same time, stress hormones in your body may directly affect your glucose levels. 

Fight-Or-Flight Response

It is natural for your body to respond when anxious or threatened with a fight-or-flight response. This reaction results in an increase in hormone levels. Your body responds to stress by releasing adrenaline and cortisol into your system, increasing your respiratory rate. This sends more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and limbs, preparing you for the impending attack. 

If you have diabetes, your body may be unable to control the glucose released by your nerve cells. If glucose cannot be converted to energy, it accumulates and increases your blood glucose levels.

Constant stress resulting from long-term blood glucose problems might exhaust you emotionally, physically, or both. This may make managing your diabetes more difficult.

Managing Stress While Living with Diabetes

Emotional Stress

Emotional stress changes hormone levels. As a result, stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. This can cause hormonal alterations such as elevated cortisol and reduced sex hormone levels. Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone.” 

Changes in the level of Cortisol can lead to an increase in the waist-to-hip ratio. As the body’s overall weight increases, so do the waist’s relative size. A high WHR is linked to diabetes and heart disease.

Stress Related Overeating

Diabetes is not caused by stress alone. It’s not clear, however, whether there’s a direct relationship between stress and diabetes.

Stress-induced overeating may also contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Stress may cause some individuals to overeat, leading to significant weight gain. We’ve learned more about dealing with our emotions when it comes to eating.

Understanding The Causes of Stress

Are you setting unreasonable standards for yourself? Expecting more from oneself than one has or can deliver is irrational. It’s perfectly OK to say “no” to activities you don’t want or need to undertake at the moment.

Stress may have a range of different effects on individuals. Additionally, the kind of stress you are exposed to may alter your body’s physical reaction.

When individuals with type 2 diabetes are emotionally stressed, their blood glucose and blood pressure levels tend to rise. Patients with type 1 diabetes may see a different response to the medication. This indicates that individuals’ blood glucose levels may fluctuate according to their circumstances.

When someone is physically stressed, their blood sugar levels may rise. This may occur if you are ill or wounded. Individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes may be affected by this disorder.

Additional information, such as the date and circumstances surrounding your stress, may assist you in identifying particular triggers. 

Do you, for example, experience more anxiety on Monday mornings? If this is the case, you now know to exercise extra caution on Monday mornings to manage your stress and glucose levels.

Stress and glucose levels may be measured to see whether this occurs in your situation. If you feel stressed, you may rate your mental stress level on a scale of 1 to 10. The number ten denotes the maximum amount of stress. Take note of this number in your mind.

Following your stress assessment, you should check your glucose levels. Continue to do so over the following few weeks, if possible. It is possible that over time, a pattern will develop. If your glucose level is consistently high, your mental stress is likely impacting your blood sugar.

Managing Stress While Living with Diabetes

Reducing Stress Through Action

Educate yourself about diabetes by seeking assistance

A lack of understanding about one’s health is a significant source of worry for type 2 diabetes. “Unknown things are frightening,” The more you learn about diabetes, the more confident you will be in your abilities to manage it in the future. 

You should see a certified diabetes care education specialist (CDCES) at any stage of diabetes, whether you’ve just been diagnosed or have been managing it for some time but might benefit from a refresher course. That will be the most efficient method of obtaining the most up-to-date information and applying it on an individual basis. 

Additionally, you may want to consider joining a diabetic support group, such as the American Diabetes Association’s support network, to draw on the experiences of those with diabetes to assist you in managing your diabetes journey.

Organize your medicines and nutrition plan 

Once you get a grip on your drugs, it may take time to adapt. Utilizing a plan may assist you in developing the habit of taking your medications consistently. 

You can do a few more things to make healthy eating more manageable. Do everything in one place, from meal planning to create a shopping list to ordering goods.

Managing Stress While Living with Diabetes

Consider meditation as a scientifically validated method of stress reduction

Several studies have proved the importance of meditation as a weapon in the fight against stress. According to a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, meditation reduced cortisol levels from 381.93 nanomoles per liter to 306.38 nanomoles per liter due to decreased stress.

According to another study published in the journal Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation in June 2014, meditation is such an effective stress-reduction technique that it may even help lower the risk of heart disease.

Incorporate Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Begin with your head and gradually tense and release each section of your body. Individuals with pulmonary arterial hypertension who practise progressive muscle relaxation for 12 weeks reported feeling less anxious and depressed and having an enhanced quality of life. 

Additionally, a March 2016 research published in the Open Journal of Nursing has shown that practicing progressive muscle relaxation twice daily for 25 to 30 minutes may help persons with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.

Look for your own personal approach to alleviating stress

Inquire within: “What do I like doing to relieve stress?” This question is likely to evoke a wide range of replies. For instance, some individuals find exercise relaxing, while others find it stressful. By asking this simple question to yourself, you’ll serve as a gentle reminder to schedule time for calming activities.

Managing Stress While Living with Diabetes

Seek further support from your healthcare team

If your stress level is so high that you cannot function normally, or if you fear you may be depressed, get assistance and treatment from your primary care physician or endocrinologist. Endocrinologists, in particular, often interact with mental health professionals who may be able to assist you in coping with excessive worry and depression.

Talk to your doctors

Talking about what’s giving you stress might be helpful. This may either help you put things in perspective or make you feel better once a stressful situation has been resolved.

Consult with a member of your healthcare team if you’d want to vent about anything that’s upsetting you.

Wrap Up

Stressed individuals may have elevated amounts of certain hormones in their bodies, impairing the way insulin operates. The chance of acquiring diabetes may be increased if an individual is under a great deal of stress, resulting in hazardous lifestyle choices.

Individuals who cannot handle their stress well or who exhibit indications of depression should seek medical treatment. Individuals may benefit from a psychotherapist or a counselor’s assistance in managing their moods. 

Managing Stress While Living with Diabetes

Stress management techniques may be helpful for some individuals but not for others. Stress may have a wide variety of various effects on different people. A person who has type 2 diabetes and is experiencing chronic stress may experiment with various tactics for reducing stress while maintaining blood sugar control.

It doesn’t matter if you’re worried about something that has nothing to do with diabetes. It’s crucial to seek the help you need to deal with it. As a result, getting assistance may help you think about how you respond to stress and what you can do to make things easier for yourself.

We hope the information in this guide will help you cope better with stress. If you have any further questions, please reach out to us, and do share the article with others who are suffering from similar problems/