The Effects of Stress on Blood Sugar Levels and Diabetes
Do you have a stressful job or life? Are you managing your stress in a healthy way? If not, you could be putting yourself at risk for diabetes type 2. Diabetes Type 2 hinges on levels of blood sugar in the body. Stress can have something to do with that.
What is Stress?
You may not know the particulars of this condition but I’m sure you know what stress feels like. There are two types of stress. I’m going to talk about bad stress, but I will also define good stress to help clear up any misconceptions.
Stress is the body’s reaction to internal or external situations. Good stress is any situation that brings about a positive response in your life. Training for a marathon is a type of good stress. Your body is under stress as it pushes itself further in anticipation of an event where you want to succeed. Good stress doesn’t have the same effects on blood sugar as bad stress does, so that’s where our focus will turn now – to bad stress.
Bad stress is any response to situations which lead to negative effects in your body and life. Trauma such as serious losses in your life may lead to bad stress that is difficult to relieve. This bad stress can lead to headaches, poor eating habits, uncharacteristic or dangerous behaviors, and other issues.
Fight or Flight Response
When you are confronted with a dangerous situation, your body gets ready. Your pupils dilate and you can feel your heart pounding as if it were trying to escape your chest. Your body is going to do one of two things – stand and fight or run away. Both require your body to prepare itself with these physical changes.
On a cellular level, adrenalin is secreted. The body releases its hold on stored glucose and allows it to enter the bloodstream. Now it is available for uptake by the cells for energy when you stand and fight, or when you run. That saturation of adrenalin may be why people have told stories of super human strength in life-threatening situations.
When you are repeatedly stressed physically and mentally, your body goes into that mode of “fight or flight” again and again. The bloodstream becomes inundated with sugar. When the sugar is not used readily by the cells for energy, the result is prolonged high sugar levels which, over time, can cause organ and other tissue damage.
All this unused sugar in the body can lead to insulin sensitivity. That is a condition that can lead to diabetes Type 2. Your body may no longer be able to produce enough insulin to take care of the excess sugar. And, when the glucose and insulin reach the cells, they may not accept it. If you are diabetic, stress can make your diabetes difficult to manage.
We accept that stress is a part of life. If you don’t control the effects of stress in your life, you can be putting yourself at risk. Learn to manage your physical and mental stress to lower your blood sugar levels and prevent or control your diabetes.