You're not alone in your anxieties, and you're not alone in the way that your body responds to stress.
It may not seem calming to read about the impact of stress on the body. But understanding how stress works will eliminate any undue worries you may have. The two important aspects of stress are the hormone cortisol and, you guessed it, glucose. Prolonged stress can lead to an increase in cortisol, known as the "stress hormone". This in turn results in muscle and fat being less receptive to insulin, making blood glucose levels harder to manage.
Acute stress, often in response to a physical threat, leads to the release of adrenaline - think 'fight or flight' response. However, modern anxieties rarely come from physical threats.
For people living with diabetes, stress is often caused by the prolonged daily difficulties of managing diabetes including:
- Having to constantly measure glucose levels
- Anxiety about having a hypoglycaemic or hyperglycaemic event
- Having to anticipate how food and drink may affect glucose levels
- Social isolation.
While stress is normal, prolonged stress places strain on the body that can be detrimental. An example would be high blood pressure, which people living with diabetes already need to be cautious of. For ideas on how to manage stress better, check out our article titled '6 Tips for Diabetes and Stress Management' or chat with your healthcare professional about ways to reduce stress.