The Facts About Managing Stress with Diabetes

January 16, 2012 at 10:09 am Leave a comment

How do emotions and stress affect my diabetes?
Stress and emotions can affect your blood glucose and cause it to rise.  When the body is faced with an emotional situation or stress, several things happen.  Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones, which cause your blood glucose to rise.  Some of these you have heard of, such as glucagon, cortisol, and adrenalin.  As a result of this increase in blood glucose you may be further “stressed” because you cannot get your diabetes in good control.  Stress and emotions that are causing problems with your diabetes control are clues that you may need help in managing or reducing your stress level. 

Stress can also cause:
• increased fat around the abdomen
• a suppressed immune system, so you get colds or other infections more easily
• increased cholesterol and blood pressure

Below are some ideas on different ways to manage stress.  Learning and trying various techniques will help you know what works best for you.
1. Practice relaxation exercises – stretch and take deep breaths.
2. Concentrate on breathing deeply for 2 or 3 minutes continuously.
3. Think positive thoughts.  Picture in your mind what you see as great outcome in a stressful situation
4. Identify what is causing you to feel stress.  Be honest with your assessment.
5. Communicate your feelings to friends and family.
6. Develop a strong support system around you.  Join a support group.  Attend education classes.
7. Listen to music. Dance.  Read a book.
8. Write your thoughts and feelings down.  You can keep a journal, write letters, send postcards.
9. Work on your favorite hobby.  Or find a new one: knit or crochet, take pictures, make scrapbooks.
10. Do volunteer work. Take care of a pet or help others.
11. Maintain proper nutrition and hydration, including a daily activity plan.
12. Avoid individuals or situations that are negative or make you feel bad.

It is unlikely that someone can go through life without feeling stress.  If you feel overwhelmed or you are not sure if you are managing your stress well, please talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about getting help.  You may need to see a specialist, or you may just need to change your management of stress.  Whatever you need to do to manage stress, it is important to find a way to minimize its effect on your health.

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Entry filed under: Diabetes, Healthy Lifestyle. Tags: , , .

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