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Can High Blood Sugar Cause Anxiety

What To Do If You Have A Blood Sugar Spike

What damage can high blood sugar and oxidative stress cause?

For those with diabetes, having a blood sugar spike can be dangerous because too much sugar in the blood passes into the urine. This triggers the body to filter out the fluid, which could lead to dehydration or a diabetic coma.

In the event that blood sugar levels spike because of stressors that cannot be managed, its vital to make managing your blood glucose a priority. You can do this by focusing on things you can control, such as your diet and exercise, checking your blood sugar regularly, and taking your medications as instructed by your physician.

Your Diabetes Health Care Team

Your diabetes health care team is there to help you with all aspects of your diabetes, including how you feel about it. Share your feelings with them if you feel comfortable to so dothey will give you non-judgemental support and advice. You may want to talk with your:

  • GP
  • dietitian
  • counsellor or psychologist.

Bring this fact sheet to your appointment to help get the conversation started. You will probably feel relieved after sharing your feelings, and it will help your health professional to understand how you are feeling.

Together, you can make plans to manage your anxiety.

Diabetes And Mental Health

A diabetes diagnosis can be a life altering event. Whether it be type 1 diabetes where the body does not make any insulin at all or type 2 diabetes when the pancreas makes some insulin but not enough, it can mean changes to your lifestyle that you may not be ready for and can also be hard on relationships with friends or family. As you establish a new routine it is important to establish good habits in managing your mental health. Proper diabetes management requires awareness of your symptoms. Just as you take insulin to ensure your blood glucose levels are where they should be, its important to take measures to prevent mental health crises by being aware of how you are feeling mentally and emotionally.

Just like taking care of your body, taking care of your mind is equally as important to living a healthy life. When left untreated, mental health conditions like depression and anxiety can make diabetes worse. Likewise, existing diabetes can make mental health conditions worse.

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Dealing With Diabetes Can Cause Anxiety

Lets face it: Controlling diabetes is hard work. That in itself is enough to cause worry and stress. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, those with diabetes are 20 percent more likely to experience anxiety than those without the disease.

We understand this, and were dedicated to helping alleviate your worry by working together as a team to address any distressing issues.

What To Do About Sugar And Anxiety


The bottom line: eat less sugar and more nutritious foods for anxiety. While thats the goal, its helpful to look at in pieces and create a plan for reducing sugar gradually. This way, you avoid intense cravings that can sabotage your progress.

With a plan in mind to gradually eliminate sugars from your diet and add healthier foods for anxiety, you can choose one or two types of sugary foods to eliminate. This list of sugary foods that can make your anxiety symptoms worse can help you know what to change and in what order you want to make those changes.

  • Soda, including diet soda

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How To Treat Anxiety

Although anxiety disorders respond well to treatment, only 36 percent of people are treated, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America .

If you have anxiety, theres no reason to suffer in silence. Not only can it prevent you from living a happy, full life, but a study published in January 2017 in the journal Diabetes Care found that people with both anxiety and depression have a higher risk for premature death.

RELATED: The Truth About How Type 2 Diabetes Affects Your Life Expectancy

Cognitive behavioral therapy combined with medication can also help. CBT works by identifying, understanding, and changing thoughts and behaviors, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Several telemedicine apps, such as Talk Space and LiveHealth Online, can help you connect with a therapist remotely, if youre unable to see a specialist in person.

As an active participant in your treatment, in CBT you’ll do homework and practice exercises over several weeks or months. This is a new skill that youre having to fine-tune and develop over time in order to incorporate it into your day-to-day life, Bereolos says.

Your primary care physician can prescribe medication, but if you have a serious mental health diagnosis, are concerned about drug interactions or cant find a medication that is effective, its best to see a psychiatrist.

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What Are Symptoms Of Depression

Too much stress sometimes can lead to depression. People with diabetes are more likely to be depressed than the average person. You may be at risk for depression if you have any of the following symptoms for more than a week:

  • Feeling sad or irritable
  • Having lost interest in activities you enjoy
  • Feeling worthless

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Diabetes And Anxiety: Everything You Need To Know

Anxiety is very common in people with diabetes, and for good reason.

In life with diabetes type 1 or type 2 there can be a constant feeling of worry and stress throughout every part of every day because your blood sugar is never still. And as we know all too well, blood sugars too high or too low can both have a variety of consequences with varying degrees of danger.

In this article, well discuss what anxiety is, why people with diabetes are more likely to develop generalized anxiety disorders, the latest research on diabetes and anxiety, and treatment options available today.

  • Remind yourself: living with diabetes is challenging!
  • Common Foods That Can Trigger Anxiety Symptoms

    Low Blood Sugar And Anxiety | Hypoglycemia causing anxiety

    Food can have a powerful impact on mood, stress levels, and mental health. Some foods have been shown to cause or worsen the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other chronic mental-health conditions. While symptoms and triggers are unique to every individual, research studies have found several common foods that can induce anxiety.


    High sugar intake has been linked to many different health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, and tooth decay. Sugar has also been linked to depression, mood swings, and symptoms of anxiety. The initial energy boost gained from eating sugar keeps many people craving sugary foods and drinks. However, once the energy boost has peaked, blood sugar levels drop quickly this leads to lethargy, low mood, and further cravings. The continual boosts and drops in blood sugar levels can trigger the release of adrenalin and cortisol into the bloodstream, causing anxiety and sometimes even panic attacks.

    Fried Foods

    Processed Foods

    Food Additives


    A balanced diet is essential for controlling anxiety, depression, and long-term mental health conditions. Eliminating or cutting down on foods known to trigger anxiety symptoms is an important step in managing chronic anxiety disorders. In addition, food sensitivities can precipitate a range of unpleasant symptoms that can mimic anxiety, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you suspect specific foods may be causing you distress.

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    Difference Between Panic Attack And Low Blood Sugar

    When youre feeling unwell and lightheaded, how you can tell if its because of low blood sugar or youre having a panic attack? It can be quite confusing.

    Both these conditions can manifest with the same symptoms, which can lead to a common misdiagnosis. Some diabetics tend to confuse their symptoms with a panic attack, which might be actually due to hypoglycemia.

    When a person feels unwell, lightheaded, sweaty, and has an increased heart rate, he might think its a panic attack. However, this is not only the case every time. Low blood sugar is another cause of these symptoms.

    How to differentiate between them? Lets discuss them individually.

    Panic Attack- this is usually an attack of sudden intense fear and anxiety. It can happen due to any stressful situation such as bereavement or sometimes without any apparent cause.

    Low Blood Sugar- this condition, also known as hypoglycemia, occurs when your blood glucose level drops to a very low level. It can have various causing factors, such as skipping a meal, intense physical activity, etc.

    While they both have different causes and factors, symptoms such as trembling, sweating, racing heartbeat, dizziness, etc. are common in both. They both tend to drain the energy out of a person, leaving them helpless.

    An important characteristic that can differentiate between them is that blood sugar level fluctuates with diet and the symptoms of hypoglycemia can reverse.

    How To Manage Your Stress Levels

    Some forms of stress cannot be managed, especially if they are not frequent in nature such as a one-time traumatic event or an accidental injury. Other types of stress, such as taking care of family, work stressors, or any other day-to-day stressful situations, will likely be there permanently or semipermanently. These types of stressful events are the ones that need to be managed as best you can.

    To do this, you can proactively plan ahead. This means being prepared for the regular stressors of life and managing your time, reading self-help books, or minimizing the source of stress as much as possible. Calming exercises such as yoga and meditation have also been proven to reduce stress levels. You will also want to avoid indulging in unhealthy behaviors such as overeating. It may seem comforting at the time, but it will not help to relieve the stress you are experiencing.

    Setting realistic and manageable goals is also a big stress reducer for those with diabetes. Instead of focusing on a large and vague goal such as losing weight, setting a goal of walking for at least a half-hour every day on specific days of the week will be much more achievable.

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    Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Diabetes

    Stress and anxiety could be the possible factors resulting in high blood sugar levels. As weve discussed above, a strong connection lies between them.

    Whenever a person is stressed or anxious, his body prepares itself by activating the fight-and-flight mode. This means he requires more energy in the form of sugar and the body makes changes according to it.

    This causes low insulin levels and high glucagon and adrenaline levels to release more glucose from the liver.

    At the same time, stress hormones cortisol and growth hormone are also secreted in the blood. They both tend to increase blood sugar levels and increases insulin resistance to muscle and fat tissues.

    Less glucose consumption and more production by the liver causes hyperglycemia.

    However, the effect of stress on blood sugar levels is still not clearly understood. In some people, anxiety raises blood glucose while in others it can decrease the blood glucose levels.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety When You Have Type 2 Diabetes

    Can High Blood Sugar Cause Anxiety?

    Trying to determine whether anxiety is psychological or due to blood sugar fluctuations can be tough because both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia symptoms mimic symptoms of anxiety, Bereolos says.

    But unlike blood sugar fluctuations, signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder persist.

    • Restlessness or feeling on edge
    • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
    • Irritability

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    How Does Anxiety Affect Blood Sugar Levels

    You might think that spikes in blood sugar levels are only problems for those with diabetes, since they have problems with insulin secretion or use, although you might be surprised to find out that huge emotional stress that leads to anxiety can be the cause of blood sugar spike in the non-diabetic population.

    The good news is, the spike is temporary most of the time, caused by the overproduction of stress hormones and not by any kind of chronic metabolic abnormality.

    Unfortunately, there are not a lot of studies researching this topic, although the mechanism behind heightened blood sugar levels in response to stress is well-understood.

    Taking Care Of Yourself When Stressed

    When were stressed, we typically dont take good care of ourselves.

    Theres a reason they call it comfort food. For most people, chocolate or fast food seems to be the first thing they reach for when were stressed.

    Stress also makes it tempting to put off your regular exercise routine in favor of the couch and a Netflix binge.

    These can all become deciding factors in a spike in blood sugar.

    Need a solution? Get moving when youre stressed. Dont feel like you have to complete an extensive cardio routine. Often something as simple as a walk around the block can make a difference in your mood.

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    Can Stress Cause High Blood Sugar Levels In Non Diabetics

    As weve discussed, anxiety and diabetes might be associated. Stress might also be a risk factor for high sugar in the blood in those who are non-diabetics.

    In people who are non-diabetics, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline may cause a temporary increase in blood sugar.

    This transient increase in blood sugar levels occurs as a response to stressful conditions either physical or emotional stress. Stress hormones have a big role in this phenomenon.

    Keep A Close Eye On Your Blood Sugar Levels

    Can anxiety cause a rise in blood sugar?

    Its always important to keep tabs on your stress and blood sugar. Thats why we recommend a fasting blood sugar test at every yearly physical.If your blood sugar starts to creep upwards, we can be proactive and start measures to help you.

    This is particularly important if you have diabetes or prediabetes. In fact, if you have these conditions, we may suggest that you have blood sugar screenings more often. We can guide you through when you should check your blood sugar, and our dietitian can help you select healthy meals.

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    Option : Use A Brief Questionnaire

    Alternatively, you can use a brief questionnaire to ask about elevated anxiety symptoms in a systematic way. Collectively, the following two questions are referred to as the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Two questionnaire. They are the core symptoms required for a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder.

    You can find the GAD-2 on the full PDF version of this guide

    Instead of administering this as a questionnaire, you could integrate these questions into your conversation.

    Sum the responses to the two questions to form a total score. A total score of 3 or more indicates elevated anxiety symptoms, further assessment is warranted.

    At this stage, it is advisable to ask whether they have a current diagnosis of an anxiety disorder and, if so, whether and how it is being treated.

    If the total score is 3 or more, and the person is not currently receiving treatment for an anxiety disorder, you might say something like, You seem to be experiencing some anxiety symptoms, which can be a normal reaction to . There are several effective treatment options for anxiety, but first we need to find out more about your symptoms. So, Id like to ask you some more questions, if thats okay with you.

    You may then decide to assess for an anxiety disorder using a more comprehensive questionnaire.

    If the total score is less than 3 but you suspect a problem, consider whether the person may be experiencing diabetes distress, depression, or another mental health problem.

    Why Low Blood Sugar Makes You Anxious

    When your blood sugar drops, your body tries to bring it up. It pumps out epinephrine , a âfight or flightâ hormone that, among other things, tells your liver to make more glucose .

    Adrenaline also makes your heart race and your palms sweat. And it can make you feel cranky and anxious. These are warning signs that your blood sugar is too low. If it stays there, your body puts out more hormones, including one called cortisol, also known as “the stress hormone,” partially because it helps control things like your mood and fear.

    Put adrenaline and cortisol together, and you’ve got a recipe for anxiety.

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    Complications Of High Blood Sugar

    Diabetes is one of the main causes of high blood sugar levels, but there are other causes that can impact your blood glucose and your risk for hyperglycemia.

    Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. You can have temporary spikes in blood sugar after eating a large meal or as a result of medication side effects. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels are dangerous and common in those with diabetes. Without treatment, you run the risk of a diabetic coma.

    Ketoacidosis is a condition that develops when elevated blood glucose levels go untreated. Without glucose to use for fuel, your body begins to burn fat instead and produces ketones. When there are too many ketones in the blood, it will turn acidic, which can very quickly lead to ketoacidosis, a diabetic coma, and even death.

    People without diabetes can develop a similar condition known as ketosis, but they can tolerate a certain level of ketones because inulin is still effectively working.

    Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is another serious complication of high blood sugar. This is more common among individuals with type 2 diabetes and is triggered by an infection or illness.

    As a result of the high blood sugar, your body tries to push out the excess glucose by passing it through your urine. Without treatment, this can result in life-threatening dehydration so prompt medical attention would be necessary.

    High Blood Sugar: Causes Complications And How To Lower Blood Sugar

    Can Stress Cause High Blood Sugar in Non Diabetics

    Your body breaks down glucose for energy using the insulin produced by the pancreas. This is required for our bodies to function. Illness can have an impact on the way our pancreas functions. Read this to learn how high blood sugar can affect your health.

    7 minute read

    Your body requires energy to function, and this energy comes from food. Specifically, your body breaks down glucose for energy using the insulin produced by the pancreas.

    Type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause impairment to this breakdown of sugar in the body, causing blood glucose levels to become irregular. When glucose is not broken down into energy, it can build up in the bloodstream and then becomes a health problem.

    Your pancreas produces insulin, which breaks down glucose. With type 1 diabetes, the cells that produce insulin are mistakenly attacked by your immune system. As a result of this autoimmune condition, blood sugar levels can become dangerously high without intervention.

    Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body no longer responds to insulin as well as it should and then also causes glucose to accumulate in the blood.

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