If you have read this blog before you know I try to keep my numbers under control. Some might even say I am a wee bit obsessive. But I would rather be a bit obsessive than to ever face the chance of having to go through dialysis – which is where a lot of diabetics who don’t control the disease wind up.
Side fact – about 25% of those on dialysis are diabetics, so my fear is not unfounded.
So, when I see a rise in my numbers that is unexpected I get concerned. What do I do? Exactly what I have suggested to you: I go back to the basics and start completing a food diary until I can figure out what is wrong. I also talk with knowledgable people. Not only do I have my friendly pharmacist Chase to speak with, my doctor’s office, and I have Dr. K… she is always helpful, even if it’s by text.
Anyway, my numbers took a sharp upturn today. When I checked I saw about 30 more points than I expected. I sat down and wrote out what I had to eat. Nothing there to cause an increase in glucose. I wasn’t taking any meds outside of my normal meds to control Diabetes. What was causing the increase?
After texting Dr. K, it came down to my old friend stress. I won’t bore you with the specifics because we all live with some level of stress, but know it can increase your glucose – sugar – and make your readings spike. I found a great explanation by Stacy Wiegman (yet another pharmacist at http://www.sharecare.com) about what stress does:
“There are several ways that stress may affect your blood sugar levels. Stress induces the well-known fight-or-flight response, in which your body increases its levels of certain stress hormones. These, in turn, cause a rise in the amount of sugar in your blood, where it’s available to be used by your cells as fuel. If your body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it has in order to get that blood sugar into your cells, your blood sugar levels remain high. Stress may also indirectly increase your blood sugar levels by causing you to abandon your good habits.
When stressed, you may not eat well or exercise regularly, or you may drink more alcohol. These habits can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. In addition, you may not take time to check your blood glucose levels as often when you are stressed, so you may not be aware of the effects that the stress is having on your blood sugar levels. If you feel that stress is affecting your diabetes, talk to your doctor.”
What did I do? I know one of the greatest ways to fight stress is through exercise. So, I picked up the pace on my walk and I ended it with three sets of leg lifts and push-ups (the easier kind in case you are wondering). The result? Well, the reading I took after dinner was exactly where I expected it to be – so it worked.
The long-term lesson is that stress can do us harm in so many ways (blood pressure, heart, increased sugar levels, and more), so it has to be kept in check. The short-term lesson is to add a few little things to my walk everyday. What can you take away from my ‘adventure?’
As always, thank you for reading.