Stress is a part and parcel of life. Stress challenges us to strive for perfection and work harder. Sometimes when there is too much stress, it can overwhelm an individual and become a handicap.
In diabetics, stress can alter blood glucose levels. Most people’s glucose levels go up with mental stress, but some people’s glucose levels may decrease. In people with type 2 diabetes, mental stress often raises blood glucose levels, even physical stress, like sickness or injury, causes blood glucose levels to rise in people with either type of diabetes.
People under stress may not take good care of themselves. Some may resort to drinking alcohol or may exercise less. They may either forget or not have the time to check their glucose levels or plan healthy meals. This can be detrimental in effectively managing diabetes.
There are many strategies that diabetics can use to control stress. Fight it to reduce it. Lifestyle changes are imperative to manage stress. Starting an exercise program, or taking dance classes of choice. Learning and pursuing a new hobby or craft is also recommended. Joining a support group can help. Knowing other people in the same situation helps you feel less alone.
Another important factor in controlling stress is adopting effective coping styles. Coping style refers to how a person deals with stress. For example, some people have a problem-solving attitude. They ask themselves, “What can I do about this problem?” They attempt to change their situation to get rid of the stress. There are others who talk themselves into accepting the problem as okay. They say to themselves, “This problem really isn’t so bad after all.” These two approaches of coping have been found to be helpful. People who use them seem to have less blood glucose elevation in response to mental stress.
For some diabetics, controlling stress with relaxation therapy seems to help, though it is more likely to help people with type 2 diabetes than people with type 1 diabetes. Breathing exercises, physical exercise are all aids to helping one relax.
If you need help with any of these issues, ask a member of your diabetes team for a referral. Sometimes stress can be so severe that you feel overwhelmed. Then, counseling or psychotherapy might help. Talking with a therapist may help you come to grips with your problems. You may learn new ways of coping or new ways of changing your behavior.