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Christine Jeffries

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Living with Diabetes: Reducing Stress Levels

reduce stress levels if you live with diabetes MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

What do you do to relieve stress while living with diabetes?

How do your blood glucose levels (BG) change with increased or decreased stress levels?

My life has gotten very hectic, very quickly.

Due to the sudden change in my daily schedule, a new set of volunteer work responsibilities, a second career and still maintaining my home and my child’s schedule, my BG has been fluctuating.

When stress increases, my BG fluctuates, which then increases my stress levels. It is a vicious cycle.

According to American Diabetes Services, if you are "stressed out", you might not tend to take good care of yourself.

Maybe you eat more, drink more or exercise less when you're stressed. Perhaps you skip meals or forget to take your medicines.

All of these actions have greater consequences if you have diabetes, as they can indirectly affect your blood sugar levels.

If you have type 2 diabetes, the "fight or flight" stress hormones that your body releases can block the release of insulin. This results in an increase in your blood glucose levels.

What are some of the best ways to reduce stress?

There are some calming strategies that relieve stress. These include moving to a quiet space, reading, listening to some enjoyable music, adjusting the lighting.

You can either dim the lights, open the shades to let more sunshine in, or light a candle. Stop and take some deep breaths and stretch your body.

There are some physical strategies that relieve stress. Many people exercise vigorously or take a walk.

Remember to check your BG before and after, and carry a fast-acting carbohydrate source with you. Also meditation may help reduce stress.

There are some diabetes practices that can refocus your health and make you feel less stressed. Refocusing your efforts in recording your BG values might help you feel more in control of your life with diabetes.

Many people get stressed about their ability to control their BG. Some worry about complications and the mental taxation of life with diabetes.

Even restocking your supplies in your office, desk, car or home can make you feel more organized and in control of your diabetes.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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