How much can stress really cause bloodsugar to raise?

Hi All,
I'm struggling with this one due to alot of things going on in my life. So, I was wondering if you might have some knowledge on this.
I constantly deal with mental health issues in my family ranging from autism,adhd,schizo-affective disorders, bi-polar ,and depression along with a child that has trictotillomania (hairpulling disorder) and one that is blind in one eye.
Life can get a bit interesting around my house to say the least.
When I have to deal with a sudden tantrum or something... I know that my bloodpressure goes up... Does my bloodsugar as well?
Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Additional Links Added by the TuDiabetes Admin Team

What do You do to Relieve your Stress

Stress and Diabetes

Does Stress Cause Highs?

I think stress can definately raise you bloodsugar! I work with daily deadlines, and when work starts to get overwhelming, my BS usualy jumps from pleasant 120s to 200’s with no food involved. I started tracking my sugars and found the phenomenon only happened on very busy work days. My family can raise my blood sugars too. It has to do with stress hormones that increase output of glucose from the liver and also cause some insulin resistance.

Like the little bat from the movie “Anastasia” said: “Stress, it’s a killer!”

I’ve measured my BG before and after meditation and seen it drop dramatically. I studied the use of biofeedback and meditation to control a phobia of needles prior to a cardiac catheter, and now the skills are very useful. At first, I used a very expensive biofeedback trainer that connected to a laptop, but now the product has been streamlined and made much less expensive and easier to use. I suggest the Emwave Personal Stress Reliever for training yourself to reduce stress at will. The unit is about the size and shape of a pocket MP3 player, and worth the expense and effort of learning to use it.


Thanks for telling me about the emwave; for now, it’s just too high over our heads in price.
sigh… add more stress. Hubby is activating this month. Life has got to get better!!! The past 3 years have been a rollercoaster of crud.


Boy you’ve got a lot on your plate.
I would say that stress certainly does a lot of messing with your body’s chemicals and can cause bg to rise.
However, with me, it’s more the issue of stress causing me not to take care of myself, with poor meals, no exercise and improperly timed insulin.
My elderly mother has been very ill since last November. During her several hospitalizations, I lived out of vending machines. Cheetoes and DingDongs on a regular basis do not bode well for my blood sugar.
I really hope your homefront calms down.

yeah… I need this homefront to calm down. sigh…
I have the same reasons for not losing weight the way I want.cruddy eating and no exercise.

I have found that my blood sugar drops dramatically after a massage. So, I guess that means stress must play a big part in my high blood sugar readings.

it sure does! my endo suspects that the extremely high mental stress (due to uni final exams) i faced just prior to my diagnosis accelerated the rise in my bgs. upon diagnosis i measured in at 720, by the way. she thinks that if i had not been so stressed, my bgs would not have been so high (but still high because i am diabetic anyway).

EVERYTHING!! Well, not everything… but quite a bit. I cannot stress enough (no pun intended) how much impact stress has on BG levels. In recent months, twice I’ve found myself under HIGH pressure moments and the day leading up to the situation that caused the pressure (typically an important meeting) as well as the entire day of the meeting (until early evening), I’ve not been able to get my levels down through conventional means. I’ve ended having to run BG’s down, literally.

So, when/if you can: don’t stress! :wink:

Well believe me it affects me in a big way. When I have family problems (and I do have them) stress levels rise and so does my BG and BP. I tell myself that I will not let it and will not worry about grown children, but it doesn’t work that way. It definitely plays a big part and I keep telling my kids this (and my hubby) so they get the message.

Oh God yes. I’m dealing with a huge amount of stress right now and my levels are awful. Part of my problem is I have ibs which is also triggered by stress and then the pain causes my levels to rise but they are going into the 300s and that’s hard for me because normally my levels are excellent. I wish I knew of a way to cope with the stress but for me I am just trying to get out of the situation. I think there are some pretty good things you can do to relieve stress like walking, painting, writing, listening/creating music, yoga (they have it specifically for stress relief) and things like that.

If is a stress of an emotional sad nature, my bgs rises bigtime. Anytime I have a medical test or a MD exam my bgs raises, because I get so freaked out by going to the doctor.

If is a stress because of a lot of work, my bgs tends to go down. Because stress created by a lot of work is almost like exercise for me and lowers my bgs.

Hope that makes sense.

That makes perfect sense. When I get angry my blood sugar actually goes down and that’s because I tend to be really active when I am angry. But when I am anxious/sad I am hardly active at all, which is probably why it goes high.

I get freaked out by going to the doctor too. In fact, I have to go soon here and I’m anxious. I’m trying to be productive and not think about it because if my blood sugar goes too high I cant drive and that would be pointless. :slight_smile:

I definitely feel that stress and anxiety cause my BGs to rise. A little bit of anxiety doesn’t seem to bring it on, but anxiety that lasts say for 20 or more minutes certainly does. It can be anything from being nervous for a job interview to something a bit more extreme. I typically see it rise until after the stressor has passed. At that point, I typically would have needed some insulin to bring it down, though. An extreme example of this would be skydiving. The nervousness I felt was so great that my BG went from 120 to 458 in approximately 1.5 hrs. During that 1.5 hours, I had not eaten and no changes had been made to my regular insulin regimen. I took correction boluses via the pump, but could not bring it down. Ultimately, the only thing that worked was finishing the job. Once I was on the ground, I honestly began dropping steadly in BG. I always suspected that stress at work or in relationships caused this spike in BG, but it wasn’t until I experienced an extreme example of anxiety that I truly was convinced.

Stress definitely triggers my daughters BG to rise. We were checking into diabetes day camp a few weeks ago and her numbers were running in the low 100s, which is normal for her. During check-in, terrible storms blew in and we ended up being herded into a cellar because a tornado watch was in effect. After about an hour in the cellar she didn’t feel good and her BG had shot up to 405 !!! Those also seem to be the more insulin-resistant highs in her case, it took double the normal insulin to get her back down.

Yes Pat it’s funny how we tell ourselves we won’t worry about our grown kids and I for 1 seem to worry more and stress more the older they get! I once went to the Dr right after having a severe “disagreement” with my oldest and like you said my bg and bp was over the roof! He put me on bp meds then a week later it was down to like 78/54 and instead of taking 2 whole pills aday he had me start taking 1/2 pill a day and to take it only at night! HA! I thought to myself “i learned a lesson the hard way and so did my DR” HA! Won’t do that again! My hubby seems to have the same problem and when he finally goes to far he will give me A LOT of room when I start telling everybody what I think! HA! It works wonders for me!

Well, stress always raises my bg levels. My mom figured this out b/c whenever I had temper tantrums I would have mysteriously high bg readings. I’ve realized as an adult that I need to keep my cool in high stress situations not only for my mental health but for my diabetes. I meditate, pray, read, scream by myself, or sing at the top of my lungs :wink: Hope that helps!


Hello Meadowlark:

The things that effect our supposedly “uncontrollable” bodily systems (heart, lungs, etc) with absolute certainty increase the BG. Its all a part of the fight or flight system we’re hard-wired with.

I know there have been small studies re: the adrenal systems of diabetics concerned with the question WHY people loose their symptoms (eg asymptomatic). I don’t know if any “large studies” have been done to prove by the ~western approach~ that mental stress must be set aside, reduced removed for the diabetic to achieve excellent control.

Simple breathing exercises, meditation techniques, active involvement (with mental detachment) all kinds of things would become as common as insulin injections. Where would that lead???


stress makes mine go up drastically—fear brings it down.meditation helps bring it down as does music and dance…