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Diabetes and Emotions

Stress and Diabetes

Stress management is especially important if you have diabetes because stress can significantly affect your ability to control your disease. If you are under emotional stress, you may skip meals, stop exercising, or forget to take your medication. Stress by itself may increase hormones that make diabetes more difficult to control. Any one or all of these behaviors affect your blood sugar level. By learning to better cope with stress, you can help keep your diabetes under control. Here are some tips:

Keep a Positive Attitude

It is easy to see the bad in life. But thinking about the good can help you through tough times.

Be Kind to Yourself

Don't expect more of yourself than you are able to give.

Accept What You Cannot Change

Try reframing stressful situations. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • "Will this be important two years from now?"
  • "Do I have control over this situation?"
  • "Can I change my situation?"

Talk to Someone

Don't keep everything bottled up inside. If you don't want to talk with a family member or close friend, there are counselors and clergy trained to provide support and insight.


The benefits of exercise in reducing stress are well-known. Exercise gives you a feeling of well-being and may relieve the symptoms of stress. 

Take Time to relax

Practice deep muscle relaxation, deep abdominal breathing, meditation, guided imagery, or visualization. Ask your health care provider for information and available programs in stress management.

For more detail, see WebMD's article Stress and Diabetes.

Depression and Diabetes

Depression affects about 15% of people with diabetes. While depression is a problem if left untreated, depression can also have a negative impact on diabetes self-management and blood sugar control and cause other complications. If you are feeling depressed, call your health care provider. There are proven steps you can take to feel better.

Is diabetes making me depressed?

High or low blood sugar can make you feel tired or anxious and affect your sleep. These symptoms may mimic depression. Occasionally hormones may be out of balance and can be corrected.  Talk with your health care provider about your symptoms and blood sugar levels.

Why are people with diabetes vulnerable to depression?

Depression is a complex disease that can result from a multitude of factors, including biology and emotional and environmental influences. It's normal to suffer from sadness every once and a while, but studies have shown that people with diabetes have a greater risk of developing depression than people without diabetes.

For people with diabetes, depression can develop as a result of the lifestyle adjustments they have to make to control their diabetes. Managing diabetes can be stressful and time consuming and the dietary restrictions can make life less enjoyable.

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If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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