Stress can develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your blood pressure is one of the most important markers of health -- especially as a person with any type of diabetes. Ginger Vieira September 5, 2019. This condition is also known as hyperglycemia. Depending on the severity of the stress level, your symptoms can vary. Mental stress can pump out many hormones in the body to no avail. But keep in mind: it’s very likely your blood sugar will sit at that higher level (especially in those with type 1 diabetes) until your body has recovered from the stressful state. For those without diabetes, the stress-induced blood sugar rise is followed by an increase in insulin secretion, so the blood sugar rise is modest and temporary. Before we move on to how stress can affect your blood sugar and what you can do to reduce stress, let’s take a closer look at the hormones involved in a stress reaction. Bye, Your email address will not be published. Without cortisol, you wouldn’t be able to climb a flight of stairs let alone endure the intense stress from losing a loved one, going through a divorce, or having surgery. As people with diabetes, we’re missing the “surge of insulin” part, which can easily spike your blood sugar from 120 mg/dL to 300 mg/dL in less than an hour. She is the author of 4 books: Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes, Dealing with Diabetes Burnout, Emotional Eating with Diabetes, Your Diabetes Science Experiment. Personally, I’ve found that I needed a significant increase in my background insulin doses on the day of a powerlifting competition in order to keep my blood sugar from spiking due to adrenaline. The cortisol released by the adrenal cortex (the outer layer of the adrenal gland) causes elevated blood sugar levels in an attempt to provide cellular fuel if the body actually needs to go into fighting or fleeing. There are other reasons your blood sugar can spike during a typical workout — but unless you’re truly in a competitive environment (rather than just an intense solo workout), it’s unlikely to be adrenaline. Acute stress floods us with unwanted (and un-medicated) sugar. But your mind can react to a harmless thing as if it was a real threat. This doesn’t happen to everybody but it’s important to keep in mind if you try a ketogenic diet just to see your insulin need skyrocket. These hormonal responses to the low blood sugar may last for 6-8 hours during that time the blood sugar may be difficult to control. Let’s take a closer look at what stress looks like before we add diabetes to the mix. Diabetes and High Blood Pressure: What is the relationship? If you’re experiencing stress or feeling threatened, your body reacts. Both of these hormones can cause a rise in blood glucose levels. Make time to see a therapist weekly/biweekly. This surge is critical for simply starting your day and functioning fully now that you are awake! © 2015 – 2020 Diabetes Strong. The causes of ongoing stress are different from person to person, but here are a few ideas for how you can help reduce ongoing stress: Managing ongoing stress is difficult because in many cases you cannot just walk away from it. Not only can cortisol contribute to unwanted high blood sugars, but it’s also essential for treating low blood sugars, too. Similarly, physical stress caused by flu or some other health condition can have serious consequences. a roller coaster ride can all lead to increased adrenaline production. Stress comes from having long hours on the job, traffic jams getting to and from work, relationships that aren’t perfect, and financial difficulties. The stress of an operation, along with potential changes in lifestyle, diet, and exercise before and after surgery, can dramatically change your glucose levels. If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, it means that your body’s cells are insulin resistant. It turns out that stress has an impact on blood sugar levels, which has great implications for those suffering from diabetes. Research studies have connected many different physical conditions to having too much stress. Diabetes & Stress: How Stress Affects Your Blood Sugar, Breakdown sugar (with the help of insulin) to be used for energy, Manage how your body metabolizes protein, carbohydrates, and fat, When cortisol production increases beyond a healthy baseline, it blunts your body’s, As soon as you wake up in the morning, your body produces a surge of cortisol, explains the. Personally, I’ve found that I needed a significant increase in my background insulin doses on the day of a powerlifting competition in order to keep my blood sugar from spiking due to adrenaline. That surge of glucagon triggers a surge of glycogen which is broken down into glucose and raises your blood sugar. Things like chronic fatigue syndrome and obesity have been linked to increased stress levels. But it does mean you may notice your background insulin needs actually increase when you cut your carbs that low. What is happening in insulin resistance? During a ketogenic diet, your body is actually going to produce more glucagon throughout the day in order to get more glucose because your body cannot function on ketones alone. The stress-induced pattern of rising insulin levels and decreasing blood sugar can prompt you to feel hunger pains and crave high-carb comfort foods, leading to weight gain. It means that the blood sugar levels will be too high. For example, a person may feel that their stress levels rise when having to plan meals and measure their blood sugar, especially in the early stages of a diabetes diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t take a day off — even if you’re feeling lousy because you have a cold or the flu. Quite simply, stress is your body’s response to any situation, event, or change in your life that requires a reaction or adjustment. Adrenaline is your body’s hormonal “flight or fight” response to intense good or bad stress. Take a deep breath and step back to see the bigger picture around this stressor. The Mayo Clinic states that both positive and negative stress can affect the blood sugar levels of a person with diabetes. A quick bolus would have no impact and the only thing that would otherwise bring my blood sugar down was when the competition ended and my body relaxed. When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands trigger the release of glucose stored in various organs, which often leads to elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Stress can also cause you to turn to unhealthful behaviors such as overeating, eating unhealthful foods or smoking. How stress raises your blood sugar For a person with type 1 diabetes, a stressful moment can send your blood sugar soaring, increasing it from 100 mg/dL up to 300 mg/dL. Then cortisol kicks in, which lowers your blood glucose levels, thus resulting in hypoglycemia. Learn how stress affects your blood sugar level and how to … Here are some examples of stress symptoms: Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases. But can stress and anxiety actually raise the level of your blood sugar? Stress, whether emotional or physical, leads to the release of hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. Even in a non-diabetic, not only does alcohol affect certain people differently, different types of alcohol…, I appreciate, cause I found exactly what I was looking for. And what does this mean for those who have diabetes? Stress is actually designed for a real threat. How Stress Affects Blood Sugar. When you skip breakfast, your body is going to produce more glucagon during those fasting hours because — again — your brain needs glucose in order to function! The release of glucagon is prevented by raised blood glucose and carbohydrate in meals, detected by cells in the pancreas,” explains Your Hormones. However, if you’re dealing with predictable stress or ongoing stress, definitely talk to your healthcare team about an adjustment in your insulin doses that can help tamper those stubborn high blood sugars. In short, stress will generally cause your blood sugar to rise. — is commonly associated with athletic events, but your body produces adrenaline in response to other events, too. ! When you’re sick, your body releases hormones that can raise blood sugar — which is already a concern when you have type 2 diabetes. The Best Sweeteners for People with Diabetes, How to Lower Your A1c: The Complete Guide, How to Bake Chicken Breast in the Oven (So It’s Always Juicy), 7 -Day Diabetes Meal Plan (with Printable Grocery List), Close your eyes and take deep inhales and exhales for 30 seconds, Exercise to get your heart rate UP which causes your central nervous system to relax, Make a to-do list to get everything off your mind, Create a “voice memo” like your own private therapy session. Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease since 1999, and fibromyalgia since 2014. There are several ways that stress may affect your blood sugar levels. Don’t underestimate how much ongoing stress can affect your daily insulin needs. Without that extra glucose, your blood sugar would drop and you’d simply be lacking the energy necessary to perform during that stressful event. Hence, one of the effective ways is to just notice the level of stress and jotting the same down in a piece of paper while you are checking the blood glucose levels. Success! 8 In addition, stress can make it harder for you to sleep at night, another harbinger of weight gain. That surge of glucagon triggers a surge of glycogen which is broken down into glucose and raises your blood sugar. Rest is crucial for long-term spiritual and psychological well-being. When you experience a severe low blood sugar, likely below 40 mg/dL, you may seem your blood sugar skyrocket within the hours after, even if you only treated that low with a careful amount of carbohydrates. That makes it harder for your insulin to work the way it should. At the end of the post, we will summarize how all of this comes together to impact the day-to-day lives of people living with diabetes, and what you can do to reduce stress in your daily life. 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