You hear people talking about how stressed they are. We as human beings are not built to be stressed all of the time. We were built to have very short periods of stress used to get us out of life-threatening situations. Once we have escaped that situation our stress should be over.
However with the intensity of a 21st century lifestyle we find ourselves stressed for longer periods of time. It may be for days, weeks, month and years. This constant level of stress, physical or emotional, can have a big impact on other health conditions.
Emotional stressors can include family issues to work or financial problems. Physical stressors might include cold or flus, skipping meals, overweight or other health conditions.
Today I want to talk about how stress can increase blood sugars. When people are under emotional or physical stress they tend not to take as good care of themselves. They may not eat well, exercise or make the best decisions about their personal care.
In addition when we are stressed our bodies release the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine, which cause our blood sugars to rise. The purpose is to provide our body with the quick energy needed to deal with a crisis.
Diabetics and prediabetics have an impaired ability to manage the increase in blood sugar levels under normal circumstances so when you are stressed it causes your blood sugar levels to go higher than they normally would.
High blood sugar levels over time are responsible for all of diabetic complications including nerve damage, foot damage, infections and higher risk for heart disease.
So it is important to recognize that if your blood sugars are high it might be a combination of what you eat, how much you exercise, what combination of medications you are taking and your stress level.
If you are not looking at all of the factors related to higher blood sugars you may not be managing them very well.
The first step is to acknowledge that you are stressed. The next step is to create a stress management plan as part of your treatment plan.