Stress can be defined as anything that causes a shift in your body’s normal state. When your body detects stress, it unleashes several responses in an attempt to re-establish equilibrium. The “fight or flight” response for example, releases hormones that make energy (from fat and glucose) available to cells so they can respond accordingly to the stress.
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how we metabolize sugar, or the body’s main fuel source. With diabetes, the body becomes defiant to insulin… the hormone that controls the passage of sugar in and out of cells. This means that during stress, insulin may not be able to let sugar into the cells. Prolonged stress on the body, be it of a physical or mental nature, causes these fight or flight hormones to linger in your body. This causes a rise in blood sugar levels because your body is now programmed to think it’s under constant attack. Naturally it responds by sending more energy (sugar) to its soldiers in the front line: the cells.
You cannot get rid of all the stresses in life… but you can learn to cope with them:
- try joining a diabetic support group in your area and learn how other people deal with stress
- relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and imagery can help you deal with work
- relax… stop yourself from thinking about consequences and focus on the problem itself
Most importantly, be active in your healthcare… take care with your food choices and keep a check on your blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance can also happen in people who are overweight. Fat acts as a hindrance to insulin… preventing it from moving sugar in and out of cells. Therefore, the aim for Type 2 diabetics is to lose excess weight, lose that belly fat. Stress, can cause a Type 2 diabetic to forget about taking care of himself and lead to binge eating and a sedentary lifestyle.
Exercise should always be a part of your day. It may be as easy as walking 2 flights of stairs or walking 3 blocks to the local shops and back. Stay away from sweet drinks such as instant juices or soda. Also, add more fruits, vegetables and high fiber foods to your diet. Lose weight slowly but surely… about 2 pounds (1 kg) per week.
If you plan to include exercise in your daily routine, don’t go overboard. Check with your doctor as to what kind of exercise is best for you, he may need to change your medication accordingly. If you are already taking medications to help lower your blood sugar, eg. insulin, take special precautions. Make sure to check your blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise. Do not continue exercising if the results are below or above the normal range.
Non-diabetics may think of not eating regularly or eating less when they are on a weight loss plan… this may not work for diabetics. Remember that too high or too low blood sugar levels can affect you. Eat according to your regular routine and never skip meals.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease, and with it comes stress and weight problems. Diabetes cannot be cured, but the latter two can be controlled. Remember to always put your health first.
Anupam Ghose, a physician by training, was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) in 2017. After the diagnosis of T2DM, he followed a low carbohydrate high fat diet and reversed his T2DM within a year. Now he has one main goal in life. Yes, it is to make people understand that the conventional method of treating T2DM is not beneficial. The best way to reverse T2DM is through diet and lifestyle modification. He decided to help people suffering from T2DM in their new journey by offering consultations and working together with them in order to achieve a T2DM free life.