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Handling the Stress of Diabetes

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Managing stress is key for people with diabetes. When you're stressed, you may skip meals or forget to take your medicines, which will affect your blood sugar level.

Everyone has some stress; it's a fact of life. What matters is how you handle it. These six tips will help.

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Keep a Positive Attitude

When things seem to be going wrong, it's easier to see the bad instead of the good. Find something good in each important area of your life: work, family, friends, and health. Thinking about the good can help you get through the bad times and the stress.

Be Kind to Yourself

What are your talents, abilities, and goals? Are you expecting too much from yourself? Don't expect more of yourself than you have or are able to give. It's healthy to say "No" to things that stretch you too far, or that you don't really want or need to do.

Accept What You Cannot Change

Ask yourself these three questions:

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

If you can change something to cut your stress, do it. If you can't, you need to find ways to limit how it affects you.

Talk to Someone About Your Stress

Don't keep stress 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. Ask your doctor for recommendations if you would like to see a psychologist or counselor.

Tap the Power of Exercise

You can blow off steam with vigorous exercise, recharge by being out in nature, or do a relaxing mind-body activity like yoga or tai chi. Exercise gives you a feeling of well-being and is a proven way to curb stress.

Take Time to Relax

Practice muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, or visualization. Ask your health care provider about classes or programs, or check for apps that teach you these skills.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on May 15, 2012

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If the level is below 70 or 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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