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Stress and Diabetes

We all encounter stressful situations every day. Stress may be physical or emotional. Examples of physical stress are infections, injuries and surgery. Here we will be discussing emotional stress. When life's everyday ups and downs make your body or mind feel strained or threatened - that's stress. If you have diabetes, stress may directly alter your blood sugar levels and make you feel poorly.

Events that may cause stress include:

  • Getting fired from a job
  • Problems with your spouse, friends, or family
  • Taking a difficult test
  • Moving to a new home
  • Financial worries
  • The death of someone close to you

The Effects of Stress

Stress hormones may directly alter glucose levels and keep your body from producing insulin or using it properly. If you're stressed out, you may also forget to test or not have enough time to test your blood sugar, exercise, or eat properly. Important stress indicators are:

  • An increase in heart rate or pounding heart
  • An increase in blood pressure
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Shallow breathing
  • Shakiness
  • A rise in blood sugar due to stress hormones

Stress has a direct effect on diabetes by causing the following changes:

  • Your blood sugar could rise too high or fall too low
  • Your body may start producing ketones
  • Symptoms such as muscle aches, diarrhea, tiredness, and headaches could appear

Stress can also cause behavior changes such as:

  • Irritability, anger, depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem
  • Over-eating, under-eating, or not eating on time
  • Cigarette smoking, drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, or excessive spending