Can stress CAUSE diabetes?

By Mando_Lynn Latest Reply 2015-03-23 11:28:11 -0500
Started 2015-03-16 21:48:44 -0500

I've been a touring musician for years and last year was diagnosed with DT2. Once I started testing my sugars I noticed that on performance days, the adrenalin and excitement of being on stage and having to keep up a high energy level would shoot my readings to above 300 (and stay there for the duration of set-up, performance, and breakdown… About 6 hours) regardless of what I ate or didn't eat. On non-performance days I was able to keep my sugars in the 80-120 range easily.

Would this constant overload of sugar in my blood be equivalent to eating three boxes of donuts every day? Could the touring life have caused my diabetes?

Sadly, I made the decision to leave the touring life and go back to teaching. My blood pressure was also in the range of 200/120. My health was more important.

So my A1c has almost returned to normal, but I'll now always be diabetic. Sigh…

15 replies

Mando_Lynn 2015-03-23 11:22:50 -0500 Report

It wasn't possible. Performing for over 500 people in a high energy show released so much adrenalin my BS would be close to 400 all day. Curbing carb intake isn't going to do anything to do anything to those kinds of numbers. I just had to stop touring. I'm back to teaching.

PetiePal 2015-03-23 10:33:13 -0500 Report

I definitely have read, seen and experienced stress as a sugar elevator for me. On those days try to down the carb intake if you can to get ahead of those highs.

Pegsy 2015-03-17 17:58:34 -0500 Report

I was prediabetic before some major stresses in my life. I was diagnosed with T2D in the midst of some extreme, long standing stresses. Do I think the stress caused my diabetes? No. Did it contribute? I think so. As my life stresses gradually come down, so does my A1c. On some days, it matters not what I eat. If I am stressed or lacking sleep, my glucose is up no matter what I do. I have to manage stress first and foremost. I must get adequate sleep. Then and only then do I benefit well from diet, exercise and medication.

GabbyPA 2015-03-17 06:01:45 -0500 Report

I believe there can be a connection just based on what the contributing factors were for my mom and myself.

My mom had gone through the death of my dad and then just a three years later my younger brother died in a horrible accident. In the middle was my marriage to my hubby, but I found out later she doesn't like him one bit, from day one. All of that was very hard on her and soon after the death of my brother she was diagnosed.

For me, it was the loss of my job. As the bread winner of the family that was horrible and not being able to find employment really made me feel useless. Then of course we ended up filing bankruptcy as a result. We tried so hard to keep our house, which then was also taken away. We thought we were going to be living in a tent. This lasted the course of 2 years and I think it was a huge factor in my diabetes.

Since my whole family has it, I know it's in the genes as well, but there are triggers. It could have been stress, worry, poor food choices in those times, depression....But I think long lasting low level stress really messes up the body.

haoleboy 2015-03-17 00:22:39 -0500 Report

There have been various studies that indicate that stress may indeed increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
One of the effects of stress is the release of cortisol. One of the effects of cortisol is the increase in glucose and a decrease in insulin. So it certainly seems plausible that sustained stress could lead to diabetes, just as eating a diet high in carbohydrates (sugars) can increase your chances of T2 by wearing out your pancreas and/or decreasing insulin sensitivity.


Mando_Lynn 2015-03-17 11:21:16 -0500 Report

I would have a tendency to follow your line of thinking. I've always heard that genetics loads the gun but lifestyle pulls the trigger. (Both my parents are type 2.)

Some lifestyle choices that docs say are risk factors is extra weight (I'm less than 120 pounds), unwise food choices (I'm a stickler about what I eat because with both parents having it, I didn't want to get it too) and being sedentary (been going to the gym for 30 years).

It would seem logical to me that if instead of touring, I chose to eat enough foods that were high in sugary carbs four days a week for years to keep my BS above 300 for hours a day, then isn't that the same as performance adrenalin doing the same thing? My pancreas was still having to pump out more insulin, thereby making my cells insulin resistant and burning my pancreas out.

There's got to be a reason I have this when I knew I was at risk all my life and have done everything I could to avoid it.

I've heard that folks feel anger, confusion and other emotions when they are diagnosed. Mine (emotions) waited a year to surface and I'm so irritated now. Grrrrr!

haoleboy 2015-03-17 12:40:35 -0500 Report

There are type 2's that I know with no family history of diabetes and had lived incredibly healthy lives up until diagnosis. I think perhaps sometimes our pancreas just goes wonky or that there may be environmental factors that trigger the disease. Truth is no one can really definitively say at this point in time why we get this disease.
Love your username, by the way. An old friend of mine makes custom mandolins.


Mando_Lynn 2015-03-18 16:20:04 -0500 Report

Cool on the custom mandos. Does your friend have a website? I always have money stashed away if a good mando becomes available.

haoleboy 2015-03-17 11:13:11 -0500 Report

I just went back and looked at some of your older posts and saw where you had mentioned that both your parents were type 2. One of my favorite sayings about type 2 diabetes is "Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger", for you stress may indeed have been the trigger


lilleyheidi 2015-03-17 00:11:40 -0500 Report

I'm sorry you had to give up your career touring. Stress does not cause diabetes, it does cause your BG to go up high though, and it will stay high for a long time. As Valentine Lady said it is due to your pancreas not functioning properly, not due to sress. I hope that you can enjoy your teaching career.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2015-03-17 00:03:47 -0500 Report

Hi Lynn,
Stress can not cause diabetes. Your pancreas stops performing
( working ) and can no longer handle the sugar your body injects as well as produces. Then you become a diabetic. Stress plays
a large part in making your Bg (blood glucose) go sky high. With that and your blood pressure you needed to retire from touring. . We do need good teachers for our children. I.for one am glad you gave up your career on the road…your right your health is more important.

jayabee52 2015-03-17 11:02:31 -0500 Report

Sweetness, I am not sure I agree that stress CANnot cause diabetes.
I believe that I severely stressed my body just prior to my Dx. Did it cause it? That is hard to say, yet I was living a high stress lifestyle and eating foods which added to the load on my pancreatic output and insulin resistance. All these factors led to me feeling tired all the time (working long irregular hours didn't help) and being thirsty all the time as well. I checked my urine with a clinictix and the rough estimate I got back from that was in the 300 mg/dl range.

Of course we didn't have health insurance yet and I waited for getting Dx'd until we did, about 6 mo later (bad move) So I suffer the consequences today. I have always been an intense, driven person in certain things, relying on adreneline and cortisol to get things done.

I also felt that I had to drive myself to pay for child support expenses and I worked sometimes up to 27 hrs straight in a day. I firmly believe that that had a large part in my disabilities and my need for dialysis.

I try to take it easy now but sometimes I do get wound up and unable to relax and sleep like I need.

Love ya

sweetslover 2015-03-16 23:21:14 -0500 Report

I do not believe that stress causes diabetes, but stress definitely can cause high BG for diabetics. I'm sorry you had to give up a touring career, but we need good musicians who can teach the next generation of musicians.

Next Discussion: Insulin Lantus »