Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Diabetes & Stress.

I stress myself out. I do. I am not a drama queen but I sometimes resemble one, especially when I’m stressed out. Stress is an interesting thing and it does interesting things to my body. Namely, screw with my Diabetes. Stress alters my blood sugar. Life in general alters my blood sugar but stress is what I’m blogging about.

It’s so bizarre because sometimes stress will send my bs through the roof. Other times stress will cause me to bottom out. The sad part is…I never know which result to expect. Another sad part is that Diabetes lives in each of us differently. What may make my bs skyrocket, may make another Diabetic plummet. None of us are the same. What works for me may not work for your cousin who has Diabetes. What doesn’t work for me may work for your co-worker who has Diabetes. We just never know.

Truth is, I have an invisible, chronic illness that is based on guessing. Trial & error. I guess on carbs, on my mood, on how my body will react to exercise, on bs corrections, on life. This alone causes major stress, at least for me.

Stress has a huge impact on people with Diabetes. Then again, stress has a huge impact on people. Period. Stress is a normal response to things that upset or unbalance you. It’s your body’s way of protecting you, in a sense. Your body releases adrenaline in response to a situation and that effects you physically. Ie: increased heart rate. Stress is no bueno, yet, we deal with life’s little stresses on a daily basis.

So, I guess this is a PSA to all.

Stress isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. It’s gotten a bad rap, that’s for sure. But, when your body is stressed, you become more alert, respond faster, and concentrate more. Like when some jerk slams on his brakes in front of you, your quick response is due to the stress causing your body to throw out hormones. React!! Now!! This is a good thing. But…..your body also releases glucose, which, for Diabetics, is a bad thing. Stress doesn't know if you have a disease. It just tells your body to work overtime to help you deal.

Excess stress can manifest itself into physical issues, behavioral or emotional issues. Normal stress can affect your sleep, mood, focus and your health. All of these things can screw with your Diabetes and your health. But.....stress is a way of life. (Sigh.) So, what can you do? Well, there are a lot of tips for reducing stress. Basically, they all revolve around relaxing. Relaxing? Who the hell knows how to relax? Yikes.

Some suggestions are to take yoga, meditate, get a massage, eliminate caffeine..yea, right! Eliminating caffeine would cause more stress for me! (Addict.) Try to remove yourself from the stressful situation, if at all possible. Do something you enjoy like hiking or reading a book. Go see a therapist, if necessary, or make a lunch date with a friend. It’s always a plus to talk, vent & let someone else share in your worries.

We, as a society, barely notice how stressed we are until it becomes a little too much. Try not to let it get that far. Easier said than done, yea? Also, keep your sugars in check when you find yourself in a stressful situation. This may mean checking your bs 20 times that day rather than 10. Better safe than sorry. Stress & Diabetes are partners. Unfortunately. Stupid Diabetes. If this disease doesn’t stress you out, life certainly will.

Most of all, learn how to cope. Everyone has a different coping style. Find out what yours is. You’ll be a healthier person for it.



  1. Yup stress is sometimes difficult to deal with and of course diabetes makes it that much more difficult. But your suggestions on coping are good ones! My personal favorite is getting a massage ... works every time :)

  2. Stress is definitely difficult to deal with when you have diabetes. Different types of stress treat my blood sugars differently. If I am stressed from having too much to do then my sugars go high, but if the stress is from anxiety then my sugar will drop really fast.