Let us face it; stress is everywhere. It can be the trivial things that build up over time or momentous events in your life. Stress plays a vital role in causing high blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Many triggers mentally stress us, like work, family issues, and financial stressors leading to additional insulin production.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a normal part of life, and it helps us respond to situations that may be dangerous or upsetting. However, when stress becomes excessive or chronic, it can cause serious health problems. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, high glucose levels, heart disease and depression, and anxiety disorders.
The Role of the Hormones in Stress
Stress is related to changes in hormone levels in the body. The hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine play a crucial role in preparing the body for action under stressful conditions by increasing heart rate and mobilizing energy stores in glucose (blood sugar). Glucose is released from storage sites in muscle cells and liver cells into the bloodstream to be used by muscles for energy during exercise or emergencies.
How Stress Affects Blood Sugar Levels for Diabetics
When a person with diabetes experiences stress, hormones are released into their bloodstreams that increase their blood sugar levels above normal ranges. Once these hormones wear off or are suppressed by medications such as insulin, glucagon, or metformin, blood sugar levels return to normal. However, if stress persists over a prolonged period, it can lead to several serious health problems, including high blood sugar, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and certain cancers.
For people with diabetes, stress can affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you should know how stress impacts your blood sugar levels and what steps you can take to manage these changes.
Steps to Manage Stress
Stress is a part of life, but it does not have to be a significant part of your life. Managing it can help you feel better physically and emotionally.
1. Get Enough sleep
One way to manage stress and diabetes is by getting enough sleep every night. Sleep deprivation can create feelings of anxiety and depression, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And it is not just about quantity — quality matters too. It helps if you get enough sleep in stages rather than all at once. For example, if you can fall asleep but wake up frequently throughout the night or wake up very early in the morning, this might mean you’re not getting quality sleep when you do sleep.
2. Exercise Regularly
According to Harvard Medical School (HMS), exercise boosts endorphins, which help relieve pain and improve moods — both effects that reduce stress levels in the body, according to Harvard Medical School (HMS). In addition, exercise releases serotonin in the brain, which further relieves depression symptoms associated with chronic stress. You can use the Klinio app to help you with exercise with hundreds of fun activities and a series of quick 5-10 minutes fitness plans to keep you healthy.
3. Set Aside Time for Yourself
Taking time out of your day just for yourself can lower your stress levels. Some people find it helpful to meditate, while others prefer taking a walk around their neighborhood or going to a nearby park to relax with friends or family members over lunch break. Having a hobby like painting or writing can also help reduce stress since these activities give you an outlet to express yourself and relieve any pent-up emotions.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to the present moment. It helps you focus on what is happening right now rather than being caught up in your thoughts and feelings about the past or future.
Mindfulness can help you manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. You might think that focusing on your breath or body feels like a waste of time when you are busy with work and family commitments, but these practices can help you take control of your thoughts, emotions, and reactions.
5. Eat Well and Avoid Junk Food
Chronic stress can lead to weight gain in several ways. Firstly, stress hormones like cortisol may increase appetite. Second, cortisol may increase fat storage by decreasing levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Thirdly, cortisol triggers an inflammatory response that can cause insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes). Finally, chronic stress may also increase appetite by increasing ghrelin levels and decreasing satiety-inducing peptide YY (PYY) levels.
The best App to avoid junk food and focus on healthy food is Klinio, which helps you maintain a detailed grocery list. The app trains you to avoid unhealthy food and understand what should be eaten and what should be avoided.
6. Limit Caffeine, Alcohol, and Other Stimulants
The most effective way to manage stress is to limit your use of stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
Stimulants can temporarily reduce stress, but they also harm your brain and body over time.
Limit caffeine intake to 200 mg per day (one 12-ounce cup of coffee) or less if you have trouble sleeping or feeling jittery.
Consider drinking less while under stress if you drink alcohol in moderation (no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women). Consuming alcohol can increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
7. Talk to Your Friends and family about What’s Going on in Your Life
When you are stressed, it is easy to feel alone. But that is not the case. There are plenty of people who understand what you are going through — and they want to help.
Talk to your friends and family about what is going on in your life, even if you do not think they will understand. Their support can make a significant difference in how you feel and cope with stress.
If you do not have anyone close by who understands what you are going through, find someone else who does — such as a friend or someone in your community. You might not be able to talk face-to-face, but there are many ways to connect online. If someone is willing to listen, that can be immensely helpful too.
8. Seek help from a Mental Health Professional
The best way to manage stress is to seek help from a mental health professional. Many techniques can help manage stress, but the most important thing is finding what works for you.
Many people find that going for a walk, doing yoga or meditation, or having a bath helps them relax and unwind. Others like to listen to music or watch their favorite TV show. Some people find it helpful to write down their thoughts in a journal or spend time with friends and family.
If you find it challenging to manage your feelings of stress, you must seek help from a mental health professional. They can provide support and advice on coping with stress for you to feel more relaxed and happier in life.
Unchecked, stress can do more than just hurt your happiness level and make your days seem longer. It can lead to severe problems with your blood sugar levels, putting you in danger of complications (like diabetes) or even death. The good news is that you can do plenty of things to manage stress yourself, and these tips should help you get started.
Read More : 6 Ways To Practice Mindfulness for Your Diabetes