How to Manage Stress and Diabetes

Having a chronic health condition like diabetes can bring on stress or exacerbate existing symptoms.

The problem is that stress can be harmful to both physical and mental health, so it's important to manage your well-being before stress manifests other complications.

How Stress Affects Health

In addition to contributing to wear and tear on the body, stress can increase blood glucose levels, lead to poor eating habits, impair your thinking and decision-making abilities, and negatively impact immune and digestive functions. Stress can also impact renal and reproductive health, while raising your risk for depression.

Symptoms

Stress doesn't always manifest as agitation, although feeling "wired" is one of the most common symptoms.

Other symptoms of stress can include: significant changes in sleep (sleeping too much or too little), changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, memory or concentration problems, muscle tension, stomach problems, avoidance of work or school tasks, profuse sweating, feeling shaky or uneasy, teeth grinding or headaches.

Managing Stress

Conquering stress starts with being mindful of your triggers or the events in your life causing you stress.

It's important to make time every day for calming activities that can lower your blood pressure, slow your breathing and ground you.

Some ways to cope with stress include: deep breathing, yoga, meditation, slow walks, connecting with nature, spending time with your pet, laughter, listening to soothing music or working with a behavioral therapist.

With diabetes, or with any disease, your mind-body connection will be important in cultivating overall wellness. Stress can be fatal, so make it priority to lower the stressors in your life and do more of the things that make you feel calm and relaxed.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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