The world can be a stressful place — but what impact (if any) does that have on your diabetes? Can stress give you diabetes? If you’re prediabetic or already diagnosed with diabetes, can stress make your condition worse? We’ll answer all these questions and more below.
Common causes of diabetes
Diabetes has several different potential causes, from lifestyle choices to genetics. But what about stress? Does stress impact diabetes?
While stress is directly related to various health conditions such as migraines, headaches, depression, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and heart disease, there is no evidence that stress can cause diabetes. However, managing stress can play an important part in managing diabetes.
How can stress lead to diabetes?
Living with diabetes can take its toll on your mental health. If you’re experiencing constant stress and anxiety, it will be much harder to manage your diabetes effectively, which can then exacerbate your symptoms or make your condition worse.
So, how does stress lead to diabetes?
- Stress eating. Stress makes it much more difficult to make healthy diet choices. Think about it — when you’re stressed and hungry, what’s the first thing you reach for? Oftentimes, it’s the high-sugar, high-fat, unhealthy "comfort food" that you crave.
- Loss of motivation. When you’re feeling stressed about something, it can be difficult to muster enthusiasm for anything, even things you normally like doing. Stress can make you lose motivation for exercise, work, hobbies, having a social life, and many other things.
- Lack of sleep. Do you ever feel like your stress is keeping you up at night? If so, you’re not alone. Stress is a common cause of insomnia and other sleep problems.
All of these things — especially an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise — can make you more likely to develop diabetes and exacerbate any diabetic symptoms you’re already experiencing.
Stress and blood sugar: Is there a connection?
Can stress cause high blood sugar in diabetes patients? The answer is yes. Blood sugar is controlled by a variety of hormones. While insulin is the only one that can help reduce blood sugar, plenty of hormones can raise it — and cortisol, the main stress hormone, is one of them.
During periods of high stress, your body produces more cortisol and adrenaline, both of which can impact your blood sugar levels and cause them to skyrocket. If not managed properly, it can be much more difficult to control your diabetes and keep your blood glucose at a healthy level.
How to manage your stress
Here’s the good news. Though stress can seriously exacerbate diabetes and its symptoms, reducing stress can drastically improve your health. Easier said than done, though, right?
Managing stress isn’t easy, but it is possible. If you’re under a lot of pressure and looking for ways to relax, here are some dos and don’ts that we recommend.
DON’T be embarrassed or deny your stress. Everyone has periods of difficulty — you aren’t weak for feeling stressed.
DO look at your stress as a challenge rather than something threatening. Remember that you can overcome stressful situations.
DO try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including daily exercise, a well-balanced diet, and getting adequate rest.
DO spend quality time with friends, family, and on hobbies that you love.
DON’T assume that medication is the only option for dealing with chronic stress.
DON’T assume that you are alone. You should always feel free to seek help if things become overwhelming.
Keep pain under control with diabetic socks from Viasox
Is it any surprise that pain is one of the leading stressors for people who have diabetes? Diabetics are at risk for a wide variety of painful and potentially debilitating complications, including diabetic foot problems and peripheral neuropathy.Here at Viasox, we’re proud to carry a range of comfortable, effective non-binding diabetic socks and compression socks specially designed to help you protect and care for your feet. So take a little stress off your plate — visit us online today and find the non-binding or compression socks that will help you.