It seems as if everyone these days has some degree of stress in their life. It also seems as if more and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes. Is there a connection? Is there a stress-diabetes “link”? Does one contribute to the other? The truth is that stress has a tremendous effect on diabetes.
Try to remember an occasion when you were under stress – maybe frightened or worried. Your heart rate probably increased. You may have felt shaky or even had tremors. These are signs of adrenalin rushing into the bloodstream in response to the “danger” your body thought you were experiencing.
Researchers believe that the rush of adrenaline that the body produces under stress is meant to increase blood sugar, and that blood sugar gives the body more energy with which to respond to the stress. Think of the energy a caveman would have needed to run from a wild animal; it’s the same principal: Your stress is your wild animal.
But most modern stresses don’t require a physical response. All of this extra blood sugar has no real physical purpose. The body is left with elevated blood sugar it doesn’t really need, and elevated blood sugar is the primary sign of diabetes.
To make matters worse, if you are diabetic, your blood sugar level is already high. This, however, makes no difference to your body. If you experience stress, it’s going to increase the adrenaline anyway, and your blood sugar will go even higher.
So what’s a person to do? Especially a diabetic person?
Since there’s not much way to avoid stress in today’s world, the issue is finding a way to deal with it. The question is how can you do that? Much of the answer depends on the type of stress you are experiencing, and there are many, many kinds of stress. Because of this, one of the best things you can do is to take some time to consider the particular stresses in your life.
Knowing the nature of your stresses should help you formulate a process for dealing with them. Maybe they can be eliminated or corrected. Maybe they are unavoidable but can be managed. Can you handle them alone or do you need support? Can you find that support among your family or friends or would professional help be more appropriate for your situation?
Stress is everywhere and diabetes is beginning to seem like it is. But there are things you can do. Start by understanding your stresses and what you can do to cope with them. They are a fact of life, but if handled correctly, they don’t necessarily need to be a factor in your health.