Can stress cause diabetes..Stress occurs when something causes the body to act as if it were being attacked. Sources of stress can be physical, such as injury or illness, or they can be mental, such as problems with your marriage, job, health or finances.
can stress cause diabetes
When stress occurs, the body prepares to take action. This preparation is called the fight or flight response. In the fight or flight response, the level of many hormones increases markedly. The real effect is to put a lot of stored energy -glucose and fat- available to the cells. These cells are then prepared to help the body move away from danger.
In people with diabetes, the fight or flight response does not work well. Insulin can not always release extra energy for cells, so glucose builds up in the blood.
The effect of stress on diabetes
Many sources of stress are long-term threats. For example, it can take months to recover from surgery. While the function of stress hormones is to cope with danger in the short term, they remain on alert for a long time. As a result, long-term stress can cause the blood glucose level to increase in the long term.
Many sources of long-term stress are mental. Sometimes the mind reacts to an inoffensive event as if it were a real threat. Like physical stress, mental stress can be short-term: from taking a test to being stuck in traffic.
It can also be long-term: from working for a demanding boss to caring for an elderly father. With mental stress, the body releases hormones without results. Fighting or fleeing does not help when the “enemy” is the mind itself.
In people with diabetes, stress can have two types of effects on the level of glucose in the blood:
It is possible that people with stress do not take good care of themselves. They may drink alcohol or exercise less. They may forget or not give themselves the time to measure their glucose level or plan good meals.
Stress hormones can also change the blood glucose level directly.
Scientists have studied the effects of stress on the level of glucose in animals and people. Mice with diabetes under physical or mental stress have an elevated glucose level. The effects in people with type 1 diabetes are more varied. While most people’s glucose level rises with mental stress, it is possible that the glucose level of others decreases.
In people with type 2 diabetes, mental stress often increases the level of glucose in the blood. Physical stress, such as illness or injury, causes a higher level of blood glucose in people with either type of diabetes.
It is easy to find out if mental stress affects your glucose control. Before measuring your glucose level, rate your mental stress level from one to ten. Then write your glucose level next to it.
After a week or two, try to detect a pattern. Making a chart can help you notice more patterns. Does a high level of stress often present with a high level of glucose, and a low level of stress with a low level of glucose? If so, stress can affect your glucose control.
It is possible to eliminate some sources of stress in life. If traffic alters it, for example, you may be able to find another route to work or leave home early enough to avoid traffic.
If your work makes your life bitter, if you can ask for it to be transferred. Or maybe it helps to talk to your boss about how to improve things. As a last resort, you can search for another job. If you are at enmity with a friend or relative, you can take the initial step to reconcile. For such problems, stress may be the first indication that something must change.
There are also other ways to combat stress:
Start an exercise regimen or join a sports team.
Take dance lessons or join a dance club.
Adopt a hobby or learn to do some craft.
Volunteer at a hospital or charity.
Ways to cope with stress
Another thing that has an effect on people’s response to stress is the way they deal with stress. For example, the reaction of certain people is to try to solve the problem. They say to themselves, “What can I do about this problem?” They try to change their situation to eliminate stress.
Other people try to accept the problem. They are convinced that “this problem is not really that bad”.
These two methods of coping with stress generally work. In people who use them, the level of glucose in the blood tends to rise less as a result of mental stress.
Learning to relax
For some people with diabetes, it seems beneficial to control stress with relaxation techniques, although it tends to help more people with type 2 diabetes than people with type 1 diabetes. This difference makes sense. Stress prevents the body from releasing insulin in people with type 2 diabetes, so reducing stress may be more useful for these people. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin, so reducing stress does not have this effect. Some people with type 2 diabetes may also be more sensitive to some stress hormones. Relaxing can help by reducing that sensitivity.
There are many strategies that can help you relax:
Sit or lie down without crossing your legs or arms. Breath deeply. Then exhale as much air as possible. Re-inhale and exhale, this time relaxing the muscles on purpose while exhaling. Keep breathing and relaxing for 5 to 20 minutes at a time. Do breathing exercises at least once a day.
Progressive relaxation therapy
With this technique, which you can learn in a clinic or a recording, you tighten your muscles and then relax.
Another way to make the body relax is to make a variety of movements. Three ways to relax with movements is to make circles with the parts of the body, stretch them and shake them. To make this exercise more fun, move with music.
Replace negative thoughts with positives
Every time you notice a negative thought, think about something that makes you happy or proud. Or memorize a poem, prayer or quote and use it to replace negative thinking.
Regardless of the method you choose to relax, practice it. Just as learning a new sport takes weeks or months of practice, learning to relax requires practice.
Ways to cope with the stress related to diabetes
Some sources of stress will never disappear, whatever you do. Having diabetes is one of them. Anyway, there are ways to reduce the stressful aspects of life with diabetes. Support groups can help. Meeting other people in the same situation helps you feel less lonely. You can also learn from other people’s advice to deal with problems. Making friends in a support group can decrease the burden of the stressful aspects related to stress.
It can also help if you directly face the problems related to diabetes care. Think about the aspects of life with diabetes that are more stressful for you. It may be taking your medication or measuring your blood glucose level often, exercising or eating what you owe.
If you need help with any of these problems, ask a member of your diabetes management team to recommend a professional. Sometimes stress can be of such a degree that you feel overwhelmed. Then, psychotherapy can help. Talking to a therapist can help you deal with your problems. You may learn new ways to do it or change your behavior.