This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.
Stress, anxiety, depression, etc. There are many diabetics out there that claim these things have a physiological effect on blood sugar. Does being under stress actually do something inside the body that causes blood sugar to rise or fall? I have done some research and have found no scientific studies to prove this a fact or that stress has any effect on blood sugar at all. Not to say that they aren’t out there, I just haven’t come across them.
I’m not talking about emergencies that cause an adrenalin rush. We all know this can make BG rise or fall. I’m talking about a more low tone and extended kind of stress, like a stressful work environment, a string of bad luck, a relationship on the rocks, etc.
But, then why does my blood sugar run much higher whenever I am under a lot of stress? Never fails, stress = high BG for me, and many other diabetics. And yet many other diabetics will tell you without hesitation that stress drops their BG.
My theory is not that there is something changing in the body that causes BG to rise or fall. I truly think that it is how we behave when under stress that directly affects our BG. We may just not be aware of our actions in the moment.
In my previous blog post, “Lessons” From The Past, I wrote about a bad week I had (which actually lasted much longer) and how I realized I still deal with stress in the same old bad fashion I always have.
And it always results in very high BGs.
When I am stressed, I crave carbs. I “need” comfort food. And I always give in, get my treats, plop down on the couch and zone in front of the T.V… I also toss my care and monitoring of my diabetes out the window. It’s just another stress to take care of diabetes, and I’m trying to lessen the stress, so thoughts of diabetes go bye-bye for awhile.
And so the BG rises.
I am losing control, flailing in the anxiety and falling into depression. So I ignore as many troubles as I can easily ignore.
And it becomes a vicious cycle, one feeding the other, over and over in a downward spiral.
And the BGs rise.
The real sad part here is that I am aware of my behavior (because it’s what happens every single time) but I don’t stop.
My inner monologue is this, “Don’t give in to the temptation, it’s just going to make your blood sugar go up.”, “You’re doing it again, you need to stop.”,
“I really don’t care right now, I just don’t give a ■■■■, it’s all a bunch of bull ■■■■, I’m a failure at life, I fail at everything, nothing is ever going to get better, I’m stuck in this ■■■■■■ life forever, I keep trying and things just keep crashing my efforts into the floor. Why try, why work toward anything. I’m spent.”
Something always brings me around, though. Things naturally follow a pattern, things go bad for awhile then get better for awhile. It’s life. I also sometimes get fed up with myself and gather enough strength and determination to pull myself up and take control once more. But it is impossible to cut off the bad behavior before it happens. I guess my psychology just needs to “cry it out” for awhile first.
So, you see, I believe we all have a behavior pattern we follow when dealing with stress. And it is this behavior, conscious or not, that directly causes our blood sugar to rise or fall. Some people might do kind of what I do, some might lose their appetite or become workaholics or sleep more or exercise more. Whatever your coping mechanism is for stress, it’s going to change your BG.
This obviously is my own personal theory. I am more than happy to welcome ideas, experiences, or education on the topic.