Healthy blood glucose levels and stress are tied together. How much does stress affect my blood sugar?
Stress, like a poor diet or not enough exercise, is one of the things that will increase your blood glucose (BG) levels. Whether an event is good or bad, it can cause stress, so it’s important to remember that an exciting time – like a wedding or a move to a great new place – can raise BG level just like a traumatic or upsetting time in your life, as well.
Taking care of yourself the right way no matter what is happening in your life is important to keep your BG level as stable as possible. The better control you have over your BG, less your diabetes will affect your overall health.
Healthy blood glucose levels and stress are related
To better understand how that works and why it is so important, as well as what can be done to adjust your level the right way, let’s take a couple of minutes to see how to tune your BG level controls. Think of your control system like a thermostat. In people without diabetes, BG levels are always going up a little and then down a little, based on changes in the body. The body’s complex control system keeps BG levels in a narrow range, just like your home’s thermostat that controls your furnace and your air conditioner.
For people without diabetes, the BG range is generally around 70 to 120 mg/dL. When you have type 2 diabetes, it’s kind of like you have a working furnace, but your air conditioner (the insulin) is not working correctly. Because of that, the numbers have a hard time staying down in a comfortable range. They may go up (the heat, or furnace), but they won’t come down (the cooling, or air conditioner). When your BG level stays high and doesn’t come down, that’s when you can be diagnosed with diabetes. It’s time to take control of those numbers, and handling your stress levels is one of the ways to do that.
When stress occurs, your body reacts to it defensively. Part of that defense is a rise in insulin resistance. So, the kind of stress you have on your body (good or bad) really is not the issue. Stress at all can affect what happens with your body’s defense system, and that means a rise in how resistant you are to insulin. If you aren’t processing your insulin correctly, you are going to end up with a higher risk of diabetes, and/or a harder time controlling the type 2 diabetes you already have.
One type of stress on your body is infection, which causes your body to prepare to defend itself. As part of this defense, your insulin resistance (IR) increases, which increases your BG level. Work with your doctor to monitor and control your BG level when you are fighting an infection. Trauma, surgery, pregnancy, natural hormones, and even fluctuations of the menstrual cycle can increase IR and affect your BG control. Drugs and supplements may also affect your BG level, so work closely with your doctor to manage those, too.
Stressful situations at work and at home can certainly result in higher BG levels, so we will cover some important and proven strategies to help control your emotional stress level. When you use the right strategies, you can keep your stress levels low and make sure you feel your best all the time. Even if you feel great, though, don’t stop working with your doctor, and don’t stop monitoring your BG levels. Test as often as your doctor wants you to, and test more often if you are under a lot of stress. That will help you make needed adjustments that can keep your BG levels down.
Overall, you need to live life on an “even keel” as much as you can, without times of extreme stress or difficulty. That isn’t always easy, since life can throw all kinds of things at you, but the more careful you are about how you handle things and how you react to stress, the easier it will be for you to control your type 2 diabetes and feel good about your overall health. You can use techniques like deep breathing and meditation to help you relax, and that can result in blood glucose levels that are more stable over time. You can take control over your healthy blood glucose levels and stress.
It can take some practice to control stress, but it is well worth the effort.
Stresses of many kinds will make your blood glucose levels increase, so the more relaxed you can remain the easier it will be for your body to control that glucose level.
*** Thanks to Gretchen Becker, a very talented author and thriving person with type 2 diabetes who wrote the book, The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide… I pulled some inspiration from her book as I wrote this post.
Please consider buying her book on Amazon at: