Identify Sources Of Stress
Being pregnant, preparing for a new baby and learning to manage gestational diabetes are stressful things on their own. But you also lead a life in the real world, with all it stresses and tensions.
Stress has many sources. Name some of your main sources of stress and see if you can identify an action to reduce or eliminate complications of gestational diabetes for you and your baby.
You might find that simply learning as much as you can about gestational diabetes will relieve much of your worry.
How Surgery Affects Blood Sugar
The stress of an operation, along with potential changes in lifestyle, diet, and exercise before and after surgery, can dramatically change your glucose levels. While everyone’s at risk for high blood sugar levels after surgery, people with diabetes face even greater risks.
While the exact reason for this cannot always be determined, there are a few different factors that may be at play. The physical trauma associated with surgery can result in an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, along with catecholamines , both of which may result in increased insulin resistancea lack of sensitivity to normal levels of insulin, requiring more and more insulin to remove glucose from the bloodstream.
Additionally, high levels of insulin often seen in diabetes can make arteries and veins less flexible, restricting blood flow that leads to slower healing times and poor circulation to the heart and other organs.
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.
Recommended Reading: Can A Diabetic Get A Tattoo
Brittle Type 1 Diabetes
Patients with especially type 1 diabetes are at the greatest risk of blood sugar fluctuations. That is because they are typically only on insulin and are subject to variability in the absorption we just discussed. They also miss another significant hormone that is glucagon. Glucagon is a counter-regulatory hormone that can prevent low blood sugar in healthy individuals and even most type II diabetic patients. In the absence of glucagon patients with type 1 diabetes are more prone to develop low blood sugars due to the deficiency of glucagon. Also if they are not counting carbohydrates very correctly or efficiently blood sugar fluctuations causing blood sugars to be up and down will be inevitable.For patients with brittle type 1 diabetes, I strongly recommend using a continuous glucose monitoring system such as Dexcom G6 or Freestyle libre 2. These devices help prevent low or high blood sugars by alerting the patient by predicting future high or low sugars.
Ahmet Ergin, MD, FACE, CDCES, ECNUEndocrinology
2260 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. Ste 212 Unit #7
West Palm Beach, Florida
Summary: How Stress Affects Your Blood Sugar
In short, stress will generally cause your blood sugar to rise. It will also be difficult to bring it down because of the insulin resistance created by stress hormones and the production of glucose from your livers response to adrenaline.
The larger majority of stressful situations arent something we can easily predict, but once youre experiencing stress, you can predict that your blood sugar might spike.
Remembering to check your blood sugar during and after stressful situations is an important part of diabetes management, but dont add to your stress by expecting to be able to easily correct any high blood sugars during a stressful state.
Recommended Reading: How Many Points Does Metformin Lower Blood Sugar
How Can I Reduce Stress In My Life
There are many things you can do to reduce stress. The following are some suggestions:
- Take your medications as directed and eat healthy meals.
- Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
- Get some exercise. You can reduce stress though activities such as dancing, walking, or biking. Do something that you enjoy.
- Remember to keep your sense of humor. Laughing helps to reduce stress.
- Join a support group. You can meet people with problems similar to yours and make new friends.
- Seek out professional help in order to talk about what’s troubling you.
There are additional strategies that you can use to help reduce stress in your life. Talk to your diabetes educator or doctor for more ideas.
Avoiding High Blood Sugar And Dka
No matter how well they take care of themselves, people with diabetes will sometimes have high blood sugar levels. But the best way to avoid problems is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to your desired range as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.
High blood sugar levels don’t always cause symptoms, and a person who isn’t testing regularly might be having blood sugar levels high enough to damage the body without even realizing it. Doctors may use the HbA1c test to find out if someone has been having high blood sugar levels over time, even if the person has not had obvious symptoms.
Here are some other tips for avoiding high blood sugar levels and preventing DKA:
- Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and not skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly and your ketone levels when your diabetes management plan recommends it.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
Stress Is Affecting Your Type 2 Diabetes
You know the things you eat affect your diabetes. Its easy to see the impact a brownie has on your blood sugar. You also know that exercise, your family history, and even your gender can play a role in the development and severity of your diabetes.
But do you know how stress is affecting your diabetes? One recent study has shown that stress increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes in older women. But men are at risk too. Anyone with stress faces an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes or seeing changes in your diabetes if youve already been diagnosed. Both physical and emotional stress can cause changes in your blood sugar levels, which can cause or worsen your diabetes.
Keeping Your Blood Sugar Under Control During Anxiety: Raleigh Medical Group Can Help
This is a team effort.
Dont feel you have to go it alone.
For decades weve been the provider of choice in the Raleigh, Cary and Triangle areas. Our experienced, compassionate physicians and health care team are ready to guide you toward the healthiest life possible.
Scheduling an appointment is easyand now we even offer convenient telehealth appointments.
Dont let stress ruin your health. Contact us today.
Also Check: How Many Points Does Metformin Lower Blood Sugar
Changes In Activity Level And Exercise Can Cause Blood Sugar To Go Up And Down
Up-and-down blood sugars after exercise
Clearly when we exercise our body uses more glucose and we become almost immediately more insulin sensitive. As a result, any medication that increases the level of insulin such as sulfonylureas or insulin will be more effective in reducing blood sugars. For example, if you normally take 40 units of Tresiba which is a long-acting insulin, daily going to the gym today may give you low sugar after midnight. That is more likely to happen if you wake up with blood sugars below 100 to 120 milligrams per deciliter range as you will have a less buffer/safety zone for potential low sugar. In this case, you may want to reduce the amount of Tresiba by 20 to 30% or more depending on the amount of exercise you have had. Monitoring your blood sugar closely on the days see you go for exercise will help me understand your blood sugar patterns after exercise. Remember exercise can influence your sugars in the short-term after 24 hours following exercise.
If you Master to adjust your medications based on your exercise you will be able to prevent blood sugars go up and down and reduce blood sugar fluctuations.
What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels
Managing diabetes is like a three-way balancing act because you have to watch:
All three need to be balanced. If any one of these is off, blood sugar levels can be too. In general, higher than normal blood glucose levels can be caused by:
- not taking your diabetes medicine when you’re supposed to or not taking the right amounts
- not following the meal plan
- not getting enough exercise
- having an illness, like the flu
- taking other kinds of medicines that affect how your diabetes medicines work
A single high blood sugar reading usually isn’t cause for alarm it happens to everyone with diabetes from time to time. But if you have high blood sugar levels a lot, let your parents and your diabetes health care team know. Insulin or meal plans may need adjusting, or you may have an equipment issue, like an insulin pump that isn’t working right. Whatever the case, make sure you get help so you can get your blood sugar levels back under control.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Dka
The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis usually don’t develop all at once they usually come on slowly over several hours. People who have DKA may:
- feel really tired
- feel really thirsty or pee way more than usual
- have a dry mouth and signs of dehydration
These symptoms are caused by the high blood sugar levels that usually happen before someone develops DKA. If the person doesn’t get treatment, these signs of DKA can happen:
- abdominal pain
How Stress Affects Blood Sugar Levels
Two types of stress can change blood sugar levels:
- Physical stress
- Mental or emotional stress
Each type of stress affects blood sugar levels differently. Physical stress generally causes blood sugar levels to increase. Physical stress includes:
Mental or emotional stress has mixed effects, depending on the type of diabetes you have:
- Type 1 diabetes: Mental stress can increase or decrease blood sugar levels.
- Type 2 diabetes: Mental stress generally increases blood sugar levels.
Stress also can affect your blood sugar levels indirectly by causing you to forget about your regular diabetes care routine. When you’re stressed out, you might:
- Exercise more or less
- Not test your blood sugar level as often
- Forget or delay a dose of medication and/or insulin
Recommended Reading: How Are Glucagon And Insulin Secretion Controlled
Handling Your Response To Stress
You have some control over your reaction to stress. You can learn to relax and this may reduce your bodys hormonal response to stress. There are often groups in your community, or books you can read, that teach relaxation techniques.
Some of these techniques are surprisingly simple and effective. There are a range of options to help you relax. For example:
Getting regular exercise
Consciously replacing bad thoughts with good ones
Whatever method you choose to relax, practice it. Just as it takes weeks or months of practice to learn a new sport, it takes practice to learn relaxation.
You can also often make quite simple lifestyle changes that can help reduce some of the stress factors. For example, if you always get very stressed when you get stuck in a traffic jam that makes you late for work, think about what other options are open to you. Would it be a more healthy option for you to walk to the railway station and take the train?
Take time to look at your life coolly and clearly. One way to do this is to imagine that you are a friend who has come to talk to you over the fact that their life is getting them down. What changes could that friend make in their life? Changes that would either reduce their stress levels or strengthen their ability to cope?
Follow These Steps To Find Out If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Affected By Mental Stress:
Read Also: Is Diabetes A Hereditary Disease
If You Develop A Complication Of Diabetes
Developing a complication of diabetes may result in significant readjustments in your life. If it makes you less mobile, you may feel you have become more dependent on others, or you might need to shift house or jobs. If your vision is more limited, you may need to concentrate harder on achieving tasks that were previously easy. Depending on what impact the complication has on your life, you may feel a great deal of grief associated with the loss of full health.
Having diabetes is stressful. It can also mean that it is more of a challenge for us to manage other life stresses. As you become more experienced with diabetes it tends to assume a less intrusive place in your life. As you achieve a comfortable balance between caring for yourself and also having fun and enjoying your life, your stress management strategies can become more effective.
The Symptoms Of Stress
Stress can manifest differently in one person from the next. For some, positive or negative stress may produce immediate tears, for example. In others, it may cause them to be silent and speechless. And others may become easily angry and irritable.
Depending on the severity of the stress level, your symptoms can vary. Here are some examples of stress symptoms:
Mild to moderate stress
- panic attacks
Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases. Stress is linked to 6 of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.
Before we move on to how stress can affect your blood sugar and what you can do to reduce stress, lets take a closer look at the hormones involved in a stress reaction.
You May Like: What To Do If A Diabetic Feels Dizzy
Arm Yourself With Quick Fixes
The toll stress takes on your health largely depends on how you react to it, Campbell says. Identify things that help you cool off, and keep them ready-to-go in your back pocket. Maybe you treat yourself to a massage or a manicure, she says. Or maybe you just talk to someone. Okay, a professional massage might not be possible at the moment, but maybe you have a significant other who can lend a hand. Focusing on your breath is another simple way to calm your mind and body, wherever you are. If you have an Apple device, open the free Breathe app, and let it help you slow and deepen your breath.
How The Body Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Glucose, a typeof sugar, is the bodys primary energy source. Cells throughout your body depend on glucose to continue operating. When you eat a meal, your stomach breaks carbohydrates down into glucose molecules. This glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it circulates throughout your body.
The body prefers for blood sugar levels to be kept within a tight range. To achieve this, a hormone called insulin is released by the pancreas into the bloodstream. Insulin tells your bodys cells to increase their uptake of glucose from the blood, resulting in lower blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels dip too low such as after an intense bout of exercise another hormone signals the liver to release its excess glucose stores to restore balance.
People with diabetes have a difficult time responding properly to insulin. Those with type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin, making them unable to keep their glucose levels under control. Individuals with type 2 diabetes gradually become insensitive to insulin over time, making it difficult to their bodies to respond appropriately to elevated blood glucose. Impaired insulin sensitivity can result from dietary factors, such as high consumption of simple carbohydrates and fat. However, lack of sleep and blood sugar levels are also linked, particularly for those with type 2 diabetes.
Also Check: Calcium And Insulin Resistance
How To Combat Stress
So how can you reduce stress so that it has less of an effect on your blood sugar control?
Well, to some extent that depends on the nature of your stress. Anything in life that is stressing you out thats fixable, you should work to fix. That stupid toilet that runs all night and disturbs your sleep? Get it repaired. Thats easy. But sometimes its harder: The boyfriend or girlfriend who always puts you down? Time to break up. Not all that easy to do, although it will improve your health on multiple levels.
Meanwhile, things that stress you out that you cant fix, but that you can avoid, you should avoid. Your sister drives you nuts? Youre not required to visit her, you know.
Lastly, of course, there are things in life that you cant fix and you cant avoid, and these you need to develop ways to deal with. Sometimes this involves changing your mental attitude toward it. Other times its the use of stress-relief tools, like exercise to burn off that fight or flight sugar, or hot baths and aroma therapy candles to drown the stress so that your body stops releasing the sugar.
Some of the most tried-and-true stress relief tactics are:
- Exercise of any kind