Did you know that more than 34 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes? Of those 34 million, 90 to 95 percent have type two diabetes.
Maybe you knew that, but did you know there is a connection between stress and diabetes? If you’re stressing out and have diabetes or prediabetes, how does that impact you?
The answer to that question is something you need to know. Keep reading to find out more about stress and your blood sugar.
How Are Stress and Diabetes Connected?
Stress and diabetes are connected in more than one way. Your diabetes can cause stress, and your stress can increase your blood sugar levels.
Stress Caused by Diabetes
Whether your diagnosis is new or old, managing diabetes can get stressful very quickly. Making sure you are managing your sugar, meal planning, and other aspects can feel like they take over your life.
This can lead to a lot of stress. You may also worry about dips or rises in your blood sugar that could impact your ability to function.
There’s nothing worse than stressing about your health; however, managing a condition such as diabetes can take stress to a new level.
The Impact of Stress on Diabetes
Whether your stress is about your diabetes or something else in your life, your stress, in turn, can impact your diabetes. Stress can impact you whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
When it comes to stress and type 1 diabetes, what you will often see is that these individuals can experience an increase or decrease in their glucose levels.
However, when it comes to stress and type 2 diabetes, they generally experience an increase in their blood glucose levels.
Why Does Stress Impact Blood Glucose Levels?
Have you heard of fight or flight? Our bodies are conditioned to respond when we place stress on them. It’s a survival instinct.
Fight or flight is triggered by the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a good hormone, but higher levels can have a negative impact on your health.
Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Because of that, it causes hormonal changes.
This includes a higher cortisol level and a lower level of sex hormones. Both of these hormones affect your body’s insulin levels.
That’s the science behind why stress impacts diabetes. However, it can even be as simple as stress eating.
When stressed, you might be more likely to reach for carbs and fatty foods that send your blood sugar soaring. On the other side of things, you might not want to eat. You might struggle to manage because you’re not eating.
What’s the Solution?
When it comes to diabetes, managing stress is imperative. If you don’t manage your stress, you will notice that you are struggling to manage your diabetes.
There are many stress management techniques you can utilize to help you.
Educate Yourself and Find Support
If you don’t know a lot about diabetes, it’s scary. The best way to manage the fear of the unknown is by turning it into the known.
Use various resources to learn about your condition. Make lists of questions and talk to your doctor about them. Do whatever it takes to understand your condition.
You can also find support groups. This will help you have somewhere that you can talk to others that understand your experience. There are even virtual support groups available.
Educate the People Around You
Sometimes your stress can come from the people around you. If they’re constantly hovering and worrying, it can add a layer of stress.
Take the time to educate them on what your diabetes means and how they can help you. This allows them the opportunity to support you in a way that works for both of you.
Educating the people around you also helps them with the fear of the unknown.
Make a Meal Plan
As you educate yourself, educate yourself about the foods you should be eating and make a plan. Planning meals and snacks will help you navigate busy days.
You can even take a day to meal prep. Consider including Ingredia’s Pep2Dia® as part of your meal plan too. Many foods can help you regulate your blood sugar, research them, and add them to your diet.
If you’re worried about making your own meal plan, work with a nutritionist.
Mindfulness is a great way to manage your stress. Try mindfulness stress management techniques and learn how to incorporate it into your daily life.
Mindfulness helps you be more aware of the needs of your body. It also helps to reduce stress.
Organize Your Medication
If your diabetes management feels chaotic, it probably is, and that will cause another level of stress. Organize your medication and supplies.
However, this isn’t just about making them pretty and organized. This aspect is also about taking the time to set up a schedule.
Set alarms for when you need to check your blood sugar and take your medication and even eat. Make sure whether you’re on the go or at home, you have the supplies you need at hand and are easy to grab.
Use Your Healthcare Team
Talk to your doctor, talk to a nutritionist, or talk to whoever on your healthcare team you feel can help you. They’re great resources for how to manage diabetes and how to still live your life to the fullest.
Everyone needs to practice self-care. However, it’s even more important when you have diabetes.
Self-care can help you feel more at ease and calm. When life feels chaotic and crazy, self-care gives you the opportunity to take a step back and breathe.
Self-care can often feel like a guilty pleasure, but in reality it’s a necessity.
Manage Your Stress and Diabetes
Managing stress and diabetes is essential to a healthy life. Take the time to learn how to manage both so you can be a healthier you.
Are you looking for more ways to manage your stress or diabetes? Check out our blog for more stress and blood sugar management articles.