Stress and Diabetes

By alexiskim Latest Reply 2012-04-14 22:06:58 -0500
Started 2012-04-08 21:43:57 -0500

Although I am newly diagnosed and starting medication I have a feeling that a great cause of my high numbers are caused by stress. I have taken it easy the past few days and see some lower numbers…or maybe thats just the medication starting to kick in? Is stress that big of a factor or is that just all in my head? Can anyone share their experience with stress and their numbers?

10 replies

Caroltoo 2012-04-14 16:43:54 -0500 Report

I am Type 2 with NO family history of diabetes. Given the quirks of genetics, the vulnerability called diabetes could have been in the genes waiting for something to "turn it on", but its not been seen in my family for the 3-4 generations that I know of, so no clues there.

I was healthy, happy, and at a good weight until I broke my back (L5) in two places in a hit-and-run auto accident. That led to intense pain, incredible physical and emotional stress, and much medication (pain pills, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatants) which I had never used before. Two months in bed healing changed my active life style filled with exercise to a much more sedentary one. These factors also contributed to a sleep disturbance and many years of insomnia following the accident. We've all now read the studies that say sleep problems are one of the many triggers, but the studies hadn't been done yet in 1994 when I broke my back.

I believe this was MY recipe for diabetes. These factors/stresses led to insulin resistance which triggered weight gain and, these forces all combined, I developed diabetes because my body could no longer cope with the stresses. To this, I added environmental stresses, because I had been allergic to chemical additives in my food since age 25, and was employed in a high stress job handling over $32,000,000 in contracts for my employer yearly. As I look back, I can say with no hesitation: no wonder I developed diabetes!!!!! At the time, I had no clue that any of these things could cause it and was just doing the best I could to cope with what life threw at me.

So, yes, it was probably preventable if I had been omniscient about how these factors would all blend together to create a problem for me, but at the time it was simply something called LIVING MY LIFE to the best of my ability. This is a complicated disease with complicated causes/triggers. To say "it is all caused by your diet, or being overweight" is a laughable, and insulting, oversimplification.

It is a very complex condition and it's etiology is equally complex.

alexiskim 2012-04-14 21:52:25 -0500 Report

Thank you so much for this! I just went to my endocrinologist for the first time and when I started to ask her about stress she told me that has little to do with it!! I in fact believe it has a lot to do with it! I am so glad I found Diabetic Connect to hear others like you say these things so that I know I am not crazy!

Caroltoo 2012-04-14 21:59:12 -0500 Report

No, you are not crazy. Do some research around studies done by Linus Pauling in the 60's. That's at least how long the research world (and, one would hope, the medical world) have know about this connection.

jayabee52 2012-04-14 21:57:32 -0500 Report

no you are certainly NOT crazy! I have experienced the same also. Your endo doesn't walk in the shoes of a Person with Diabetes. You might want to start looking for an endo who takes you seriously.

Dennis1963 2012-04-14 16:00:53 -0500 Report

I have noticed when I am stressed my level seems to go higher and stay higher longer. Also, the more I worried about it being high, the longer it would stay high and the slower it world come down. Maybe it is different for others, I dunno?

Personally I believe stress affect many things including diabetes.

Speaking for myself, it took sometime to accept that I was a type 2 diabetic, and every time it was high I hated it and worried so much. As of the last few months I have learned two things; 1) I learned (am learning) to accept the fact I am a diabetic, and there are many thing much worse. 2) When I was worrying all the time, I had two problems, diabetes and worry (stress). They both work together well to make life miserable if you let them!

If I may share some friendly advice, try and relax, take a deep breath sometimes and realize there are ways to control diabetes, stress is not a good way. As you study into this disease and find the things that help and the things that hurt, you will feel much better, emotionally and physically. Being miserable just makes it more miserable.

Also, these people here on DC are awesome, that includes you.

alexiskim 2012-04-14 21:53:34 -0500 Report

I am working very hard on not being stressed but yes it is a head trip when my numbers are high…its a vicious cycle! Day by day I am trying and learning too to take everything a bit slower…if only my 2 1/2 and 1 year old could understand that LOL

Caroltoo 2012-04-14 22:06:58 -0500 Report

OK, Alexis, I'm brainstorming here and you are welcome to laugh at my ideas: could you get a twin's stroller and pop the two of them in it while you get to walk or run? Can you use their nap time for a pleasant relaxing time for you (whatever relaxes you) instead of doing chores? I know: the work never ends, but you need to take a time out. The next time one of them starts crying, turn on the vacuum cleaner beside/near them. It will stop the crying. Take them to a park and let them play in the grass and chase a butterfly; you will 3 have fun and laugh.

Having two children in diapers is a lot of work and stress. They will be happier and learn better when you are relaxed and participating with them in fun things and you will feel a lot better. Motherhood is work, but it is also a time with the potential for great joy.

JSJB 2012-04-14 17:47:44 -0500 Report

I notice since being Pre diagnosed, I learned not to worry about small things and I feel much better and relaxed.

Caroltoo 2012-04-08 22:10:40 -0500 Report

I noticed we are thinking similar thoughts about stress and diabetes. My present chiropractor studied nutrition under a man who worked with Linus Pauling in the 60's - 70's. That was how I knew that Pauling was studying the connection between stress and carbohydrate metabolism and diabetes.

When my chiropractor made a comment about stress, my response was: What are you telling me? That stress causes diabetes! He looked surprised and said, oh, yes, Pauling had discovered that connection in the late 60s at the same time when he was doing some of his studies about vitamin C. I found it fascinating.

If you have studied Selye's theories on stress, it dovetails beautifully. When the body is under prolonged stress, at first it copes, then it begins to wear out and evenually, through a three stage process, begins to not react at all and, at that point, the probabiliity of major illness, including diabetes, skyrockets.

I have no idea why this work has NOT been popularized. The closest I've seen was the Carbohydrate Addict's diet about 15 years ago. It wasn't sold for diabetes, it was a weight loss diet, though it really was a good diabetic eating plan.

alexiskim 2012-04-14 21:56:00 -0500 Report

Thank you for this I will have to check these things out! I really wish Diabetes research would get out of the "tired pancreas" box.

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