How Does Stress Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

          Let’s face it 2020 and so far 2021 have been incredibly stressful years for everyone from worrying about a global Pandemic to the financial stress this has placed on so many of us. Most people experience stress because of work and finances and balancing family between it all. Now let’s add a chronic health condition like Diabetes to the mix and it is enough to drive even the most relaxed easygoing people batty. How does stress affect blood sugar levels and what are some ways we can battle having too much stress? Let’s explore these issues.

        Type 1 diabetics’ blood sugar can increase when they’re stressed because of the production of the stress hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol. In most people, these hormones help improve the body’s stress response by prompting the liver to release more glucose, or blood sugar, for additional energy (aka the Fight or Flight Responce). For diabetics, however, this extra glucose can result in a dangerously high blood sugar level. This makes already hard times even more exasperatiing trying to handle things with a high blood sugar. Personally I am very cranky and have very little patience when I have high blood sugars and this makes others around me even more stressed.  

          What causes this responce? Well, it can be anthing that stresses you out or gives you anxiety from people, to tests, work, presentations, doctors, family and really anything that you find hard to do or deal with. Also, sickness causes stress so a cold, the flu or even a sore throat. All viruses can cuse the body to get stressed and raise bloodsugar leves. Sometimes it can be the medications to treat the sickness can elevate  bloodsugar. The only way to avoid this kind of stress is to eat well get plenty of sleep and stay as helthy as possible. Avoid places where sick people generally are like hospitals and doctors offices may keep you from getting sick as often. Reduce touching your face and wash your hands often. When you can’t wash your hands use handsanitizer and untill the pandemic is over wear a mask even if you have gotten the vaccine. Reduce stresss as much as possible from daily life and for day’s where you can’t elimante it all together make sure to fit in some activites that you find fun as a reward. You could read a book, watch tv, go get a coffee, or cook if you find it relaxing. Sometimes we get so rapped up in things that bother us that doing something fun to get our mid off it can really make all the difference in the world. 

        How should you combat all the stress that life seems to throw at you? Well, one of the best ways is to do some sort of physical activity. It gives you an outlet for all negative energy to get out. If you are not able to fit in any physical activity sometimes just taking a minute to focus on your breathing or visualize somewhere like the beach or the mountains and escape for a moment. If none of this helps you sometimes a hug from the right person can melt all the stress away. Music can be a real help too, whether or not you can actually play an instrument or sing doesn’t matter. Sometimes just putting in your earbuds and listening to a certain song can turn your whole day around. Music can sometimes say things that we can’t or portray an emotion that maybe at the time we just can’t.  The best thing to remember when stressed that no matter what is bothering you that eventually it will pass. Just take everything one step and one problem at a time and just do your best. Doing your best is really all anyone can do in life.

          People tend to forget that kids can feel stressed too. They can have a lot going on in their world and as adults we may forget that even though they are not earning a paycheck their stress can be as real as ours (especially dealing with Diabetes everyday). Parents should not try to put unrealistic expectations on their kids to keep their glucose levels in range all of the time. Just help them when they ask for help or when they are feeling sick and when they make mistakes don’t make them feel worse about it. Making mistakes is how we all learn. They are going to have to take care of it one day all by themselves so give them some independence while you are around to fall back on. You don’t have to let them do everything on their own, but enough to let them feel like they could handle it on their own if they needed to. Do test runs and trials give them oppertunites to figure up their own insulin and and do their own shots or bolouses. They will enjoy the confidence taking care of themselves gives them and one day the independance.

By: Miranda Montgomery (Type 1 diabetic for 20+ years) Admin for Type 1 Diabetes Support Group on Facebook with 13.9 K members