Tuesday, March 28, 2023


Living with diabetes can be a challenge, as it requires constant monitoring of one's blood sugar levels, dietary habits, and physical activity. However, something that is often overlooked in the management of diabetes is the role of stress in impacting blood sugar control. In this piece, we will explore the different schools of thought surrounding the effect of stress on diabetes, as well as share tactics and strategies for managing stress that can lead to better blood sugar control.

To begin, it's important to understand the relationship between stress and diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, stress can cause a rise in blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. This is because the hormones that are released when the body is under stress can cause insulin resistance, making it more difficult for insulin to regulate blood sugar levels effectively. Additionally, stress can negatively impact one's ability to manage their diabetes self-care behaviors such as medication adherence, healthy dietary choices, and regular physical activity. 

Some schools of thought suggest that stress may even play a role in the development of diabetes. A study from the University of Massachusetts found that women who reported feeling high levels of stress had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes over a 12-year follow-up period. Notably, this study found that the relationship between stress and diabetes appeared to be independent of other risk factors such as family history, age, and body mass index. 

So, what can be done to manage stress and improve blood sugar control in those living with diabetes? One key strategy is to engage in regular physical activity, which has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Additionally, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga have been shown to help people with diabetes reduce stress levels and improve their blood sugar control. 

In addition to these tactics, seeking support from mental health professionals or support groups can be helpful in managing stress and improving diabetes self-care behaviors. The American Diabetes Association offers a variety of resources and support groups for those living with diabetes, and many healthcare professionals are equipped to provide referrals to mental health professionals who can help with stress management. 

Finally, it's important to acknowledge and learn from impactful individuals who have been able to manage stress and diabetes effectively. One such person is musician and actress Patti LaBelle, who has been living with type 2 diabetes since 1994. LaBelle has been very open about her experiences with diabetes, and has advocated for increased awareness around the importance of stress management in diabetes care. She has shared that incorporating regular exercise into her routine and connecting with others in the diabetes community has been essential in managing her diabetes and overall well-being. 

In conclusion, managing stress is an important aspect of diabetes care that is often overlooked. By understanding the relationship between stress and blood sugar control, as well as implementing effective stress management tactics and seeking support when needed, individuals with diabetes can better manage their condition and improve their overall health and well-being.


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