Stress and anxiety can affect your daily life up to an extent that they may even affect your eating and sleeping schedule. One may feel excessively hungry or lose appetite. Stress can also affect eating habits and physical activity levels, which can also impact blood sugar levels. For example, some people may turn to unhealthy foods or skip meals when they are stressed, which can cause their blood sugar levels to fluctuate.
Hence, managing stress through techniques such as exercise, meditation, and deep breathing can help to reduce the impact of stress on blood sugar levels. Additionally, people with diabetes may need to adjust their medication or insulin doses during periods of stress to help manage their blood sugar levels.
Dr Priyamvada Tyagi, Consultant – Endocrinologist, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, East Delhi, explains how stress can impact blood sugar levels and ways to manage it.
How Does Stress Affect Blood Sugar Levels?
Dr Tyagi shares that stress can be defined as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. Stress is a natural human response that prompts us to address challenges and threats in our lives.
“Everyone experiences stress to some degree. Persistent stress can lead to increased levels of cortisol, and adrenaline ( fight or flight hormone) in our body which can increase blood sugar levels. Chronic increase in blood sugar levels increases the risk of complications associated with diabetes,” Dr Tyagi said.
Glucose Levels And Stress: How Diabetics Can Manage Stress?
The unhealthy lifestyle people are living these days with no work-life balance, stress has become unavoidable. Hence, following a healthy diet and regular exercise can help in keeping you sane. “Having a healthy lifestyle which includes regular meals, proper diet, regular exercise, proper sleep hygiene, and meditation will help. Talking to your loved ones and asking for help is another good way to reduce stress levels. Sometimes, the stress is due to the disease itself and one on one discussion with your doctor may help alleviate your concern,” Dr Tyagi said.
Diabetes And Stress: How To Manage Blood Sugar Levels?
Dr Tyagi shares that during this period when stress is too high, you may need a higher dose of your medicines or insulin to keep blood sugars under check. Proper sleep is extremely important to reduce the burden of stress on your body. Combined efforts of doctors and the family of the person are important to manage this acute situation and prevent such episodes.
High Blood Sugar: Physical Exercises Or Diet One Should Follow?
“Regular physical activity releases endorphins (feel-good neurotransmitters) in our brain which elevate our mood. Do what you love. Almost any form of exercise is beneficial when done consistently,” Dr Tyagi said.
Food is often used as a stress buster in both healthy and unhealthy ways. Dr Tyagi shares that when we “stress-eat,” we eat quickly without noticing what or how much we’re eating, which can lead to weight gain. Mindful eating practices counteract stress by encouraging deep breaths, making thoughtful food choices, focusing attention on the meal, and feeling relaxed and happy while eating.
Stress And Anxiety: Exercises To Deal With Chronic Stress
Acute episodic and chronic stress repeatedly trigger the fight-or-flight response causing a persistent elevation of hormones, leading to a risk of health problems. Slow deep breaths, listening to music, chewing gum, and eating a small piece of dark chocolate, or green tea may help reduce stressful situations.