The Low Carb Diabetes Association has included stress management as the #4 Essential. This is because stress is a key aspect of helping to control diabetes. “Stress” is defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”. Feeling mental/emotionally out of balance due to stress is a common experience and can occur due to work, health, family, world events, news, relationship troubles, financial, deaths, good news (planning for a wedding, for example), travel, life changes, road rage, and many other reasons. On top of all those typical life experiences, being a diabetic is stressful; having to check glucose numbers, eat a certain way, deal with highs and lows, the daily and endless focus on controlling glucose levels.
Stress promotes the secretion of hormones from the adrenals. These hormones, cortisol and epinephrine, can cause elevated glucose levels and emotional distress. Elevated glucose can increase the risk of developing diabetes and can raise an already diagnosed diabetic’s glucose readings and throw off good control. Cortisol can also prevent the feelings of being happy, calm, and content. In a state of emotional upset, a diabetic may fall into emotional eating, alcohol intake or other unhelpful habits. Those can affect glucose levels, too. Early on, a person may feel agitated, irritable, anxious, angry, depressed, impatient, shaky when feeling acute stress. Over time, when stress has been going on awhile, adrenal hormones may lower as they are “burned out,” and then fatigue, low energy, sleepiness, depression, lack of motivation, and apathy may occur.
The LCDA recognizes that to best prevent diabetes and to ensure all diabetic patients have excellent control, it is imperative for medical practitioners to analyze, support and heal any patient who is having significant stress reactions. There are many ways to reduce and manage stress that the LCDA advocates:
- learning how to have excellent control of glucose levels without highs and lows
- volunteer work
- creative endeavors
- support groups
- healthy eating
- good sleep
The LCDA will be discussing many methods of stress management to help reduce the onset of diabetes and also to also give resources for patients attaining and maintaining wonderful glucose control.
If you wish to learn more about stress management and diabetes, please JOIN the LCDA.