How your stress and anxiety spike your blood glucose?

How your stress and anxiety spike your blood glucose?

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Stress is how your body and mind react to new or difficult situations. It might be short-term, like worrying about a presentation you’re giving at work the next day. Or going to a party where you don’t know many people at the weekend. It can also be something physical, like an accident or illness.

There can often be acute short-term stresses like an argument with your spouse, criticism from the boss, or an unexpected traffic jam. However, these acute episodes can turn into chronic stress if they persist for a long time. For instance, if you are having to face bad traffic every day as you go to the office, or you’re in a bad relationship with your spouse or a toxic work environment.

Chronic stress is a consistent sense of feeling pressured and overwhelmed over a long period. Both types of stress have a profound influence on your blood glucose.

If you’re feeling stressed, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. We produce these hormones as part of our body’s defense system, known as the ‘fight or flight’ response, which increases insulin resistance. As it becomes tough for glucose to enter your cells, your blood glucose levels rise. It makes sense, right?

The thing your body needs to either fight or run away is energy. And therefore, it will use the energy available in your blood—the increased glucose. But what if you don’t need glucose? In most cases of acute stress in the modern world, you don’t need to fight or run away and therefore you are not using up that glucose. More worrying than that is long—term stress. If stress doesn’t go away, your blood sugar levels are likely to remain high, putting you at greater risk for diabetes, or if you already have diabetes, causing complications that affect the heart, nerves, and kidneys.

We do not have enough research to say that stress causes diabetes, as the link between stress and diabetes is complex and multifactorial. An interesting fact though, is that stress and depression are found to co-exist with diabetes, which means that people with diabetes are also reported to be more stressed and depressed compared to healthy individuals.

Ignoring stress or pretending it does not exist does not help. Using alcohol, cigarettes, or other substances to cope with stress can harm your health and make it harder to manage diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Instead, indulging in self-management techniques related to your lifestyle can help to cope with this pressure.

Simple Self-Help Skills to Manage Stress

  • Talk to someone you trust about your stress!
  • Practice mindfulness, relaxation therapy, meditation, and breathing exercises.
  • Find ways to laugh and spend time with people you enjoy.
  • Get help instead of trying to do everything yourself.
  • Spiritual and religious activities.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Indulge in self-help books, websites, workshops, and apps.
  • Involve in volunteering for a meaningful cause.
  • Do not put yourself down, have self-compassion.

You could start with a small gesture too. Never discount the power of consistent small positive interactions. Smile at strangers. Ask work colleagues how they are, or what they did at the weekend.

In short, stress causes the release of certain hormones, which can raise blood sugar. Long-term stress may lead to high blood sugar, which can cause health problems.

Healthy lifestyle habits, such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and practicing relaxation, may help manage stress and blood sugar levels.

Seeking professional help for stress and anxiety provides expert guidance, personalized strategies, and a supportive environment.

"Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. If you have a healthy lifestyle, your diet and nutrition are set you’re going to feel good."

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