What is the role of stress in causing diabetes? Could stress management be part of the cure?

By Dan360 Latest Reply 2012-04-29 04:57:13 -0500
Started 2012-04-17 18:15:00 -0500

Once we are diagnosed with diabetes the subject turns to diet and exercise to control blood glucose levels. Not much consideration is given to the issue of stress and how the control of stress might be used to treat and/or even cure diabetes. We know that stress causes blood glucose levels to rise so there is a connection. Here is my take on the subject:

Our nervous systems are designed to maintain a state of homeostatic balance – temperature, heart rate, glucose, etc. On top of that is the ability of the nervous system to prepare the body to counter a threat, known as the fight or flight response. The effect is to increase heart rate, dilates certain blood vessels while restricting other, increasing oxygen intake, blood glucose, insulin, etc. Then there is the ability of the nervous system to adapt to chronic stimuli or conditions that do not respond to our efforts, concerns or wishes. What happens when there is no reward for our efforts or no resolution to a problem we face? The ability of the body to maintain homeostatic balance is stressed and may eventually give in to the stressor.

Life is not about learning how to avoid stress. Stress is a necessary part of our development both physically and emotionally. A part of maintaining good health is about the food we eat but another part is how we utilize our energy. Stress management is about energy management. How do we direct our energy to best support and maintain our physical and emotional wellbeing? How do we use stress to our advantage and avoid the stresses that diminish our capacity? Maybe there habits in handling stress that could be used to combat if not cure diabetes. What do you think?

12 replies

GabbyPA 2012-04-19 08:48:43 -0500 Report

I was talking with a friend the other day and she was telling me that her doctor told her that stress can take a healthy person and kill them. So I do agree that we have to find ways to channel that part of our lives. Is there a cure in that? Maybe there is. Stress messes with our bodies a lot and when we don't know how to work with it, it will work against us.

Stress used to keep us safe from predation, keeping us alert and alive. Now that so many of our needs for safety or comfort are met, that stress manifests in other ways.

I have been using the power of positive thinking to help guide my stress and make it productive. It has been very interesting and while I still get stressed from time to time, I am now able to do my exercise to redirect it.

Dan360 2012-04-19 09:27:07 -0500 Report

Stress avoidance as a generalization to healthy living is deceiving. You can become stressed by trying to avoid stress. I do not know why doctors and psychologist tend to generalize stress so. Stress is definitely integral to living.

I think you are on the right track when you speak of guiding stress. It is natural and even productive to feel stress. What we do at that point is the most important part of stress management. You don't want to stay stressed, you want to get rid of it. Exercise is very important. Thanks for your interesting feedback, Gabby.

GabbyPA 2012-04-19 09:30:54 -0500 Report

Yes, exercise, physical exercise is VERY important too. We don't get enough and it takes a load off the body in many ways. It is another channeling tool we have that so many of us ignore. Our bodies are made to move and be active and we stick them behind a computer screen or a desk. Getting outside and living an active life can help a lot. That is a reason I love camping so much. It is a huge release and escape from the stress of everyday living.

Dan360 2012-04-19 09:41:20 -0500 Report

Yes, and I am going biking for the next hour and a half. Nice to get a few endorphin in the system once in a while. Then you have to deal with sore muscles but it is not that bad.

GabbyPA 2012-04-19 09:47:32 -0500 Report

I never mind dealing with soreness after I am out gardening or hiking or other good for me activities. The soreness I don't like is getting up from my desk after a few hours of work...that is a bummer. Have a great bike ride!

Dan360 2012-04-19 08:21:59 -0500 Report

It is probably a stretch to think we might be able to use certain stressors to control or even cure type 2 diabetes. But in fact we know that our stress response (the one that comes natural to us) can be modified by meditation and thoughts. We also know that stressors can change our physiology. If stressors were somewhat responsible as a cause of type 2 diabetes it only stands to reason that stressors could be used to cure diabetes.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-04-17 18:26:37 -0500 Report

A good dr not to mention our own reading about diabetes tells us that we need to control our stress levels. This isn't only for diabetics, but diabetics when stressed have to worry about bg levels going high. You are right that we need to eat right, exercise and try to eliminate stressors so as to be as healthy as we can.

Dan360 2012-04-17 18:32:59 -0500 Report

I guess part of the point of tried to make is that we cannot eliminate stress. We need to learn to use it to our advantage.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-04-17 18:48:01 -0500 Report

You are so right. The only way to deal with stress is to try and correct what is causing it. You have a good point:)

cindygal1 2012-04-19 03:53:15 -0500 Report

You have to learn to eliminate as much stress as possible, and to control, espeicially with diabetes, stress causes all of your numbers to go and can cause other problems also. You have a good point to need to learn to use to our advantage, and to control it as much as possible.