Diabetes and Stress…Bad Mojo

Recently I have had some odds and ends go on in life that caused a bit extra stress.  I learned first hand what stress does to glucose readings, they go up!  So, since stress is a fact of life, what can you do about it?

You already know there are a couple of types of stress – Mental and Physical.  I know, I know…you are  probably thinking, “Well, duh.”  But both kinds of stress can effect you.  The American Diabetes Association has a pretty good article about stress here.

First thing to know – not all stress is created equal.  There’s the stress of missing a turn while driving – not really a big, big deal in the scheme of things and quickly passes.  Then there’s the stress of dealing with an ill loved one, caring for a parent, or death of a family member.  Or, you can have multiple things happening.  It’s this kind of stress – the mental stress – that can cause longer range problems for a diabetic.

So, physical stress might come from being ill or having surgery.  Hopefully, but not always, there is an end to it.  That kind of stress is not so hard to deal with for a lot of people,  but it’s still stress and still might effect you daily glucose readings.

Mental stress is a whole other ball game.  Almost anything can cause stress – anything.  It just depends on what is going on in your life and how you deal with it.

This lesson was driven home to me yesterday.  Several things have happened in the last week to people I love.  We also had a party that 80 people attended yesterday.  And, during the final preparations for the party when I was out getting things, the car broke down and had to go into the dealership, which I really did not need yesterday morning.  Heck, even as I am telling you what happened, I can feel an increased heart rate and my body going into stress mode.  Deep breaths.  Deep breaths.

So, when I checked my reading at night, what do you think I found?  Well, if you guessed an elevated glucose reading, you’d be right.  All of that stress is mental stress and can be insidious – we can live it over again and again in our minds.  Kind of like I have just done.

But, I did not think it was stress that caused my readings to go up.  I mean, I didn’t feel any extra stress so I started looking at what I ate during the day – and there were no red flags.  It came down to just good ol’ stress.  I looked back on the day and realized I had shown some other classic signs of stress like getting a bit short with a few people – most unlike me.  I should have figured out I was under stress, but sometimes you can’t see the forest because trees are in the way!

What can you do about it?  Well, there’s nothing specific, but you can:

  • Exercise a bit more
  • Start a hobby
  • Volunteer

Do you see what these have in common?  Freeing you brain by distracting it.  Maybe it’s not quite tricking yourself into being happy, but it does distract your mind from other things that are going on.  It allows your mind to take a breather from other stuff.

Look, you are never going to be stress-free.  It seems as though we humans aren’t built that way.  But, you can work to control it and in turn, you will be doing more to manage your diabetes.

Thank you for reading.  And, God bless.

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I am not a doctor or health professional. I am just a guy who is working everyday to control Type 2 Diabetes. My goal is to offer hope, help and solutions for day-to-day living for the diabetic. The disease can be controlled. It can be managed. And, you can do it!

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