Stress and Diabetes

Stress occurs when your body believes it is under attack. Stress can be physical and mental. Stress can occur be caused by an injury or illness in your body. It can also be caused by problems with your marriage, unhappiness with your job, and your financial situation.

The body reacts to stress by releasing hormones into the bloodstream to give the body the energy it may need to respond to an emergency. This means the cells are flooded with glucose and fat energy they were not expecting to receive. Insulin is not always able to keep up with the extra blood sugar so it spills into the bloodstream.

Mental Stress

Physical stress usually only lasts for a short time, but when the stress is mental or emotional it could cause high glucose levels for an extended time. Mental stress causes your body to react the same as physical stress. However, mental stress such as caring for an aging parent, special needs child, or working for a demanding boss will keep your body in the flight or fight response. You cant run away or fight the stress that exists in your mind.

Personality will affect your reaction to stress. If you have a high-strung personality it will be harder for you to manage your stress. If you find that stress is overwhelming you, it might be time to make changes in your lifestyle. There are two methods of thinking about a problem.

Coping with Problems

One is to ask yourself what you can do about the problem to reduce the stress. The second on is to tell your mind the problem is not all that bad, it could be worse. If you use one of these methods of stress management you will find your blood glucose levels will be lower in response to mental stress.

Stress altering blood glucose levels is not good news for those who suffer from diabetes. Stress can be harmful in two ways. First, people who have excess stress in their life many not take good care of their physical health. They may not eat regularly, or eat the wrong types of foods.

Second, they may drink more alcohol and exercise less. They may also forget to check their blood sugar levels or take the proper amounts of insulin. Physical can cause changes of blood sugar levels, but mental stress can change glucose levels for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

People with Type 2 should strongly consider reducing and managing their stress through relaxation therapy. Relaxation therapy helps those with Type 2 diabetes but is not as helpful for Type 1 patients. That is because Type 1 diabetics do not make insulin so it is reasonable to believe that stress reduction will not have the same effect on their blood sugar levels.

Light Exercise Helps

Simply taking a walk each day or doing breathing exercises can help relaxation therapy work for Type 2 diabetes. If you are diabetic, you should always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. They will advise you of any limits for your exercise routine.

You may decide to manage your stress by doing deep breathing exercises. Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your legs and feet uncrossed. Take in a deep breath, and then push out as much air as you can. Repeat this exercise, this time relaxing all the muscles you can. Keep breathing and relaxing for a minimum of five minutes and up to twenty minutes at a time. Do this breathing exercise at least once a day.

Regardless how you choose to reduce the stress in your life, if you are a diabetic, it can only help you remain healthy.