“Stress” is primarily a reaction response of the body to any change or adjustment that is real or perceived. This sudden reaction of the body releases some hormones that respond to the situation in fight or flight mode which means one either faces the situation and tackles it or chooses to run away from the situation for safety respectively. Choosing fight mode, i.e. facing, staying calm and dealing with the stressful situation is known as stress management
Stress management is an important element in everyone’s life as stress has effects that can be harmful physically and mentally. Stress management is a technique to reduce and prevent the intensity of reaction. Stress can directly affect one’s health by attacking their physical aspects like blood sugar and metabolism levels and can also cause mental issues like anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Stress is also one of the reasons for boosting disease severity as it has a direct effect on one’s blood pressure.
Stress and Diabetes
Stress makes diabetes worse. Below are the few causes why stress affects diabetes:
- Stress releases hormones that affect blood sugar levels. – Stress triggers the release of hormone from the body that helps the body to get through tough situations. The hormone released in the tensed situation is cortisol, and this hormone increases the heart rate and speed ups breathing. Due to immediate need of energy, the body releases sugar into the blood leading to high blood sugar levels.
- More cortisol, high chances of heart disease – The more the stress, the higher amount of hormone cortisol is released. This cortisol also triggers the enzymes that help to move fat out of the fat cells storage or deposits and locate in the abdomen, giving rise to belly fat. The central fats in the body are a greater risk of heart disease, making the diabetic patient’s condition worse to control blood pressure, medications and also food.
- Insufficient sleep – Stress affects mental health by leaving one tensed or anxious. Anxiety, depression can lead to less to no sleeps in the night. Diabetic patient’s sound sleep is very important for them not to feel exhausted the other day. Sleep is the state of function of the body when the body is resting, and this is also impaired to glucose tolerance. If one takes insufficient sleep, there are chances they might feel exhausted and tired the other day. Larger portions food is consumed and majorly such foods that contain high sugar which further can spike blood sugar levels in addition to generating energy.
- Stress increases insulin resistance – Stress makes the process of insulin release difficult. Cortisol hormone affects many body parts, and one of them is the pancreas. Insulin helps the sugar to move out of the blood cells for energy. Still, cortisol makes the process of secreting insulin from the pancreas difficult, thus leading to increased concentration of sugar in the blood. Throughout the process, the pancreas is expected to provide insulin to keep up with the high levels of sugar and help to move them out. This cycle continues, and cells do not receive the required sugar, further increasing glucose levels in the blood, gives rise to insulin resistance and might worsen a diabetic condition.
- Irregularity in routine – Overthinking can make one forget all other routine works. A major routine of any diabetic patient is to keep a strict check over his/her diet and medications. If one misses out on this two, complications can grow and worsen the blood sugar levels. Stress involves thinking and leads to anxiety, depression and nervousness. In this phase, there are high chances one can forget their regular life and stress over the situation that might lead to an end number of consequences to a diabetic patient
Ways to reduce stress
Diabetes is more concerned over Blood pressure. So, the diabetic patient needs to ensure he/she is not inviting hypertension by stressing over. Stress is one of the vital element of the body and cannot be eradicated but can be controlled. Stress management is required for a diabetic patient to keep the blood sugar levels in the limit. Following are the ways to reduce stress with diabetes:
- Inculcate good breathing habits: Stress management involves a relaxation technique that often suggests mastering the breathing habit. In the case of a diabetic patient, it is always recommended to stay calm and no do things that might increase heartbeats.
Cope up with stressful situations, and it is required to keep oneself at peace and not react hyperactively. Hyper reactions tend to increase heart rate.
Hence, a diabetic patient should always inculcate good breathing to keep himself/herself at controlled heart rate levels, achieved by practising deep breathing or rhythmic breathing. Long breathing involves inhaling and exhaling breathes very slowly that makes me feel relaxed. If one struggles with long breathing, then can practise rhythmic breathing to reach longer breathing. Both breathing focuses on relaxing to avoid short and hurried breathing.
- Exercise: Exercise is the best way to unwind and relax things down. Exercise helps in releasing endorphins that make our brains feel good. Any physical activity can become an important approach to ease stress. By doing these activities in a routine can have direct stress-busting benefits. A diabetic patient should always keep a check on how his/her blood pressure reacts to various exercises. Depending upon how the exercise sets the mood, one can choose to meditate, play long tennis, just adopt daily running etc.
- Accept facts and keep a positive attitude: Stressing over any small or big thing is just a big NO-NO for a diabetic patient. He/She should always do a self check analysis before overthinking and hyperactive reaction. Following a simple formula of asking questions to self of solutions. For example “ Is there anything I can do to solve this issue” if yes, then I don’t have to stress, if not, then there is no use of me stressing over it.
The aim is to either solve it or just handle and find alternatives with an optimistic approach. Also, finding alternative should focus on analysis like “will this be important two years down the lane”, “is it worth to stress over it now, if the consequences will be faced in future” etc
- Seek help from stress management expert: Primarily find how you react to stressful situations, what can be avoided or what can be implemented to remain calm and tackle the situation with utmost peace. Once you have done this self-analysis talk to someone you trust, ask for solutions and feel open to taking suggestions to cope up stress. If you feel things are getting out of hands, simply reach out to a professional or expert who can help you to deal with stress in healthy ways. Stress management experts teach techniques after evaluating your reactions and suitable to your personality, considering physical and mental aspects.
- Develop a healthy routine: A diabetic patient needs to adhere to the diet specified by the dietician or follow the medications as directed by the physician. Any miss out on any one of them leads to complications. Stress at times can lead to memory loss. Sometimes, overthinking can make one forget everything else that is running around. So, by developing a routine of your own can help to teach healthy habits every day, helps to keep stress away, focus on your health, thus keeping a check on a positive lifestyle.
In addition to all the above measure to control stress and keep a check over the blood pressure and insulin levels, a diabetic patient can adopt blood sugar formula as a supplement that helps to optimize glucose levels that stabilizes sugar and insulin levels.
Stress is overall an important element while going through any tough or difficult situation but what is more important is how one reacts to the situation. This response can be managed and controlled by different techniques. The most attacked function of the body by stress is heart rate. If Heart rate goes out of control can give rise to many heart diseases. A diabetic patient is a major risk if he has both diabetes and uncontrolled stress. Stress not only worsen diabetes but can also add up to many other diseases that might make diabetes even more critical for treatment. Hence, a diabetic patient should keep a strict check on reducing stress in his/her routine.