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Stress and Diabetes - Topic Overview

When you have diabetes, stress can cause your blood glucose levels to change rapidly and unexpectedly.

Stress can affect your body's blood glucose levels in two ways.

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  • It changes the way your body handles insulin.
  • It can cause you to change the way you take care of yourself.

Stress can be mental or physical. Each type of stress causes a similar chemical reaction in your body. For some people with diabetes, exercising can offer enough stress release that they do not need to take other steps. But other people need to try additional ways of managing their stress.

Controlling emotional stress

Many people have difficulty controlling emotional stress, which can be brought on by many situations, such as a fight with a loved one, taking care of an aging parent, worrying about the future, or a difficult job situation.

Develop coping strategies that allow you to control how "stressed out" you get. This can be accomplished in many ways.

  • For some people, it helps to put the problem in perspective: Is this problem really that big a deal?
  • For others, taking action to fix the problem can reduce stress.
  • For still others, removing themselves from the stressful situation is the only way they can reduce it. This may mean transferring positions in a company or changing jobs.

Whatever your preferred method for controlling emotional stress, it may be helpful to seek the advice of professionals. Mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, licensed counselors, and social workers, can help you recognize the unhealthy ways that you deal with emotional stress and help you develop more constructive patterns.

Controlling physical stress

You cannot always avoid physical stress. At some point you are likely to be ill or experience some type of injury. In these cases, it is very important to either seek medical attention or monitor your condition closely. You should also take care not to overexert yourself.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 24, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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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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