Managing Diabetes during Stress

Managing diabetes can be difficult task when you are just learning about the disease. There is a lot to learn and a lot to remember to do. Diabetics have to manage their blood glucose on a daily basis. Type I diabetics may even check their blood glucose level several times a day and give themselves insulin injections prior to each meal. Type II diabetics may check their blood glucose levels 2 to 4 times a day and typically don’t use insulin, but are managed by one or more oral medications taken one or two times a day.

Learning what you can and can’t eat and how much a portion really is as well as how much you should exercise and how your body reacts to the medications you are taking takes some time. Your doctor will have you keeping a close eye on your blood glucose levels until you find the right combination for you. Taking the time to learn how your body reacts to stress is also very important. Stress can affect your blood glucose level in many ways. Most importantly stress increases hormone levels in order to supply energy to the body - in case you need to respond to the stress (called the fight or flight response). Because diabetics have difficulty storingglucose, stress causes an increase of glucose in the blood.

Stress can be short term or long term, the longer a stressor remains theworse the effects. Some stressors can be changed or managed to help control your diabetes. If you have a boss that drives you crazy, change jobs your health may be dependent on it. Other stressor cannot be changed and need to be managed. For instance if you need surgery you body will be under stress for a long recovery period and you will need to monitor and manage your blood glucose levels more frequently than usual. You may also require insulin during times of high stress.

Another problem with stress is that people experiencing long-term stressors may not take good care of themselves. They may drink excessively or take illegal drugs. They may neglect to check their glucose levels or not eat balanced meals and forget to exercise. The truth is that when a diabetic is under stress they need to keep tighter control of their blood glucose levels. So if you are experiencing long-term stress check your levels more often, call your doctor and make them aware of the situation, use relaxation or stress relief therapies and learn to manage or get rid of any stressors that you can.