Diabetes and the Adrenal Glands

By dietcherry Latest Reply 2011-04-21 09:14:57 -0500
Started 2011-04-18 10:09:40 -0500

When our blood sugar levels fall below normal, the resulting hypoglycemia causes a release of adrenalin and cortisol into our body in an attempt to stimulate the liver to release glucose. After so many years of D, the liver quits storing glucose, but the adrenalin and cortisol response carries on, according to my Endo. This can exhaust our adrenals in time but also presents more health challenges every time these 2 hormones flood our systems, i.e. anxiety, weight gain, fatigue and depression. I have experienced countless lows in 31 years of D and think that I am suffering the effects of stress hormone overload. Can anyone else relate to this?

6 replies

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-04-21 09:14:57 -0500 Report

Yes, my overworked adrenal and D seem to share the blame in how I feel. I have been reading backwards, so came to your post after wondering about the adrenal factor on a later post.

bizzach 2011-04-20 16:23:59 -0500 Report

Thanks for the insight i believe that diabetes has caused my weight gain stress and depression because i eat right and exercise and still am 40 pounds struggling and maybe it could be my glands struggling.

northerngal 2011-04-18 10:19:46 -0500 Report

Never been a believer in the cortisol making you gain weight theory. I have no doubt that many years of D wears out organs. I've kept extremely tight control and have begun having several problems recently. Some are directly related to D and some probably just genetics exacerbated by D. I don't necessarily think stress hormone overload is accurate. I think that as we age, our responses are changed just because we realize what's truly important and what is nonsense and not worth the waste of energy. Younger people think EVERYTHING is life or death and become much more emotional about things. Just my opinion for what it's worth.

dietcherry 2011-04-18 10:49:31 -0500 Report

Hey northerngal! Im not that young at 43! lol In my case, Im not referring to weight gain-Im pretty slim. However, cortisol does contribute to and/or promotes weight gain, just as another hormone, insulin, does. I suffer other side effects of overload, such as the fatigue and anxiety, after a low. Im so glad you dont! :)

northerngal 2011-04-18 17:07:44 -0500 Report

I didn't say I don't have aftereffects of lows, I'm just not convinced that cortisol is the culprit. Seems over simplified to me. You gain weight when you eat more than you burn. If insulin promoted weight gain, no diabetic would be overweight since we produce little or none at all. As far as mood changes, I absolutely believe it has an effect. Just the struggle to control every iota of your life is enough without all the complicating factors D throws into the mix. Being absolutely soaked in sweat from a low certainly leaves me wiped out (and shivering like I'm outside in January. Thats lasts for hours and they seem to not understand why you're shivering so hard). Can't control a normal physiological response. There is fact in the statements, but I think people take it too far sometimes.

dietcherry 2011-04-18 17:33:27 -0500 Report

You said that right-wiped out, cold and shivering, and fatigued beyond belief is certainly true for me. I wish there were definitive answers for all the burning medical questions-even the "experts" disagree. I never had anxiety or depression before becoming diabetic. Im hoping getting a grip on my BS levels bottoming out will help towards resolving these and other issues. Fingers crossed!