Diabetes

Stress, Stress Baby

Let’s talk about everybody’s favorite subject…STRESS.

Stress is all around us. No matter who you are, stress can be found lurking in a variety of ways.

Did you know, stress can have a huge impact on blood sugar control?  

I usually try to find the light in everything, but stress ultimately controls my every move. If I’m stressed, my blood sugars take a wild roller coaster ride. Sometimes it’s uncontrollable and it leaves me battling my own body to feel better. The reason for this spike in blood sugar has to do with our favorite little friends, hormones.

Here is why:

Your liver is the storage house for glycogen. Glycogen is another name for your stored glucose. When the liver breaks down this glycogen, it is released into the bloodstream as glucose (sugar, sugar) and it travels all through your body and brain.

Insulin is the only hormone that can take sugar OUT of the bloodstream to be stored in the liver. However, all other hormones in your body can cause the liver to release glucose back IN the bloodstream.

Stress hormones, such as Cortisol or Epinephrine, can cause this release of stored glucose into your bloodstream. Emotional or physiological stress can cause these stress hormones to be secreted. For non-diabetics, the body quickly releases more insulin to combat the sugar spike in blood sugar.

For Diabetics… it’s a different story.

In order to combat this sugar spike, individuals with diabetes must react quickly and give increased amounts of insulin to prevent further increases in blood sugars. If the blood sugar continues to rise for prolonged periods of time, this spike can eventually cause extremely high blood sugars and lead to uncontrolled numbers (YAY).

From my personal experiences, I’ve found it harder to control my blood sugars during exam week. Even if my routine is the same, just the added stress and lack of sleep can send my blood sugars through the roof. Sometimes it’s beyond my control but having a way to measure my stress has allowed me to be consciously aware of my stress level and has allowed me to act accordingly. In these times, I listen to my body and I rest- even though that’s really hard for me! 😊

My blood sugar values give me a quantitative measurement of my stress level during these stressful exam weeks. These are times where I’m thankful for this realization of what I’m doing to my body on the inside. It’s allowed me to listen to my body and it’s needs.

My personal advice would be to listen to your body when you’re having those roller-coaster moments in your blood sugar values. Be consciously aware of your stress level and analyze the trends in blood sugars in these moments. If you notice a common trend, find ways to reduce stress and give yourself some much-needed love.

Stress can be an unfair player in this game of life, but you have the skills to overcome and conquer! Listen to your body- it knows what it wants! 😊

 

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