Anxiety Attacks and Bloodsugars

SO, this past week, I landed myself in the ER, thinking I was having a heart attack. Crushing feeling in my chest, pressure in my neck & lightheadedness, feeling like I can’t get a full breath of air. Many blood tests and xrays later, plus a prescription of lorazepam… i’ve been told it’s “just anxiety attacks” and i was hyperventilating. this was 5 days ok. I am still having recurring episodes of this tight-chested feeling and teaching myself to breathe deeply and not panic.
this whole debacle seems to be making my bloodsugars resistant to my fast-acting insulin. Could this be the dreaded “cortisol” connection i read so much about? can stress really keep you bloodsugars high?

Have any other diabetics had periods of anxiety attacks? Do my symptoms sound familiar? Is deep breathing the only way to make this stop? I don’t want to become addicted to a benzoidawhateveryourcallthem.

Please send me encouraging help and advice and words.

All the doctors keep telling me there’s nothing else wrong !!!

Frustrated and trying to breathe rhythmically…

Sarah in CT

Check out this link where I started a discussion under the group of diabetics with depression (anxiety)

i had those exact symptoms right after a car accident. the day after the accident and the following three months i had bad anxiety attacks. i was going to go on some pills but my doctor told me it wasnt a good idea for me (which im glad) because i don’t like the idea of drugs curing my mental state. :smiley: anywho i haven’t had an attack for almost a year. my blood sugars would go low when that happened.

Dontcha just love it’s “just anxiety”–boo hiss. Ok better than having a real heart attack, but really. It’s just as frightening & then the attacks lead to more anxiety about having another anxiety attack.

Definitely, stress leads to high BG that’s often hard to control. Yep, our friend cortisol. I recently had a stressful episode, kept taking insulin without almost no effect. Was worried that if I continued to inject that I’d crash, but I didn’t. Was up all night shooting & testing. I felt like one of those thermometers in a cartoon with the mercury rising until it explodes out of the top.

Deep breathing, relaxation techniques, yoga do help. Helps quiet the mind & also takes your mind off & away. Just me, but I avoid drugs because I can live without any more side effects & I don’t want to become dependent. Silly as it sounds, breathing into a paper bag does work because it forces you to concentrate on really deep breathing & filling up that bag. When I feel anxiety creeping up, I tell myself: I’m ok, I’m in control, this will pass–breathe, breathe. I picture myself serene (which I never am!), I picture a sleeping baby & anything that makes me feel cozy & safe. Even siller than the paper bag, I sing, even if it’s just in my head. I have the worst singing voice you’ve ever heard! Somehow it helps calm me, or maybe it’s because I know how awful I sound that it makes me laugh:)

Okay,my anxiety is over,Gerri is singing!..Just kiddin kiddo!..Sag I do believe that anxiety and depression is something that most of us share, We all have our times,one of mine hit last week,still not over it yet,but i’m tryin to laugh!..that is the best medicine,laughter! and the bag thing too,but the bestest medicine is the support from everyone here,and we will be here 24-7 if that is what you need!,So slow down,take a few deep breaths into that paper bag, and remember that you are not alone!
P. S. Just imagine Gerri singing!,shhhhhhhh dont tell her I said that!,huggs

Truly, I even sound bad in the shower! My dogs run for cover when I sing. Awful, awful, awful!

I should make a CD, sell it here with all proceeds going to Tu D. Guaranteed to shock anyone out of depression & anxiety:) Who knows, it may even shock our pancreas into working!

Okay sign the first one over to me!,I’m ready!

Are you sure? Do you have earplugs just in case?

Sarah, I am Type 2 and also have anxiety. My anxiety is worse since I’ve been on insulin which Karen talked about on her discussion about depression. What worked for me was to take a pill. Those that can control their anxiety without medication I applaud you. I am not one of them. I have never had to be on an anti-anxiety drug for more than 6 months and I am thankful for that. Everything that was recommended like walking, yoga and even singing, will be very helpful for you in learning to control the anxiety especially if you find that another drug is not for you. I don’t have a problem with harsh side effects. Maybe that’s why the medication worked for me. Don’t beat yourself up if you find that you need a medication for anxiety. That’s what it’s for. Good luck and keep us posted.

Oh no, I’m so sorry to here about your anxiety attacks, they can be so rough. I went through a period in 03 when I would get them. I also thought to myself “heart attack” but I never actually went to the ER. I’ve had to leave concerts and even walked out of class during a test. Very scary when it was happening. When your heart just beats fast like that…man.

I remember having to stop what I was doing and just calm myself down, focusing on my breathing. I would close my eyes and say positive things in my head like…“My name is Dino…right now I’m just standing in Starbucks…there is no need to panic…I work at blah blah blah…I enjoy blah blah blah…its just a little anxiety…I can stay calm…of course I’m OK…blah blah…of course I’m fine”

Eventually it would pass, but sometimes it would come back shortly, like an aftershock or something. I haven’t had one in years, and I got over it without meds. You’ll get over it too, just find comfort in the fact that doctors are really 100% right, there’s nothing wrong.

And, yes, it can cause the adrenaline or cortisol to go haywire and affect blood sugars.

I had an episode that took me to emergency like yours. I thought I had a problem, then I checked my blood pressure, it went up and up because I thought I was having a heart attack and my blood pressure kept climbing. Checking my blood pressure I think is what sometimes triggers my anxiety moments. I have a blood pressure machine so I kept checking every 2 minutes and every reading freaked me out even more. I started to worry more and more. So I went to emergency. Did all the test and came back negative. EKG, x-ray, ultra sound ect. So now I have those episodes every once in a while that freak me out. I am working on breathing and relation techniques. It is hard to do breathing excercises when you are in the moment and I have people around me asking whats wrong. But when I check blood pressure and start freaking out I try to catch it before it gets worse.

This guy in youtube helped me out a bunch of times - He has very good videos on relaxation techniques, he has brought me back down a few times just by watching his videos.

Take care hope all goes well

I don’t have issues with panic attacks, but I do know for a fact that stress (emotional, physical) will make my BG rise severely- and make it extremely resistant to my short acting insulin. I haven’t figured out how to change this. I’ve been in the ER with ketoacidosis many times because of this.

So, that only thing I can figure is to just not get so emotional about stuff so easily. I’ve learned to just relax and “chill out”. That’s the only thing that really works for me.

Sorry I don’t have anything more concrete for you.

Lots of good advice about ways to relax and deal with anxiety and panic on here. (Thanks for the laugh, Gerri! I can just hear you howling “zipade dooo dã!”)

Panic and anxiety are no fun, Sag, and you have the added problem of its effect on your blood sugar. I echo what someone else said about not beating up on yourself if you need to take some meds until you get it under control. I also strongly recommend seeing a therapist for awhile. Just having someone to talk with can really help!

Deep breathing is not great for an anxiety attack, and neither is hyperventilation (short quick breaths). The trick is to get your breaths back to around 12 breaths per minute. That’s really hard when you’re panicked. Try this…

To quell the anxiety or panic attack, breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds and breathe out for 5 seconds. No need to breathe deeply. Just watch the second-hand of a watch or clock and time yourself. Keep doing it for a minute, relax and see if you feel better, if not, do it again.

An anxiety attack can occur when your body can’t properly get rid of carbon dioxide (which is what happens on the out-breath). If your breaths are too short, or you’re over-breathing oxygen, your body can’t get rid of the carbon dioxide properly.

You’re doing several things using this technique - (1) you’re slowing down your breathing, (2) you’re allowing your body to exchange the oxygenated breath with carbon dioxide, (3) and you’re being distracted by concentrating on something other than having the anxiety or panic attack.

This is another reason that breathing into a paper bag is so good - you’re re-breathing some of the carbon dioxide and not taking more oxygen.

If you find you can’t properly do this exercise, then first hold your breath (no deep breath, please) for as long as you can. This will kind of interrupt the hyperventilation cycle, then allow you do the do the technique more easily. And if you find that doesn’t help, or you can’t do it easily, get yourself a paper bag. If it’s anxiety or a panic attack, the paper bag thing really does work. Out in public, my choice would be the breathing technique - no one knows you’re doing it.