Did you know stress can bring you closer to diabetes? Here’s how

Updated on: 16 May 2021, 06:47 am IST

When we think of stress, we hardly connect it with diabetes. But turns out, stress has a huge role to play when it comes to developing diabetes.

stress and diabetes
Reduce your stress unless you want to invite diabetes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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We all know that diabetes is a disease that encourages a lot of other health issues and it needs constant monitoring and medical support for lifetime.

We often underestimate the amount of damage that stress can do. Stress is a major contributor in increased blood sugar levels. Stress can be playing the role of the cause and effect of diabetes.

Here’s what stress does to the body

If anyone is undergoing stress or feeling threatened, his/her body reacts to it. This is called the fight-or-flight response. Stress triggers the body to release cortisol, which is a hormone that helps the body to get through stressed situations and the release of this hormone increases respiratory rate.

Cortisol helps the arteries to stay narrow in order to pump blood harder and faster that eventually helps in fight-or-flight situation by ensuring to maintain the delivery of oxygenated blood throughout the body. However, if this process continues for a longer period of time, that means, stress is on constant high and constant stress over time increases the blood pressure.

Also, read: Give us 2 minutes of your time and we’ll tell you just how stressed you are

Stress can make managing weight difficult, thus contributing to diabetes

Cortisol is also responsible for escalated food cravings and we all know how hard it is to manage that if you have diabetes. Stress activates our fat cells and that results in gaining weight, which is ultimately a connecting dot between stress and diabetes.

covid-19 and stress
Constant stress can ignite a slew of blood sugar troubles. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

According to medical research losing weight even by just 5% can show a significant improvement towards controlling the blood sugar level in the body. The excess release of the cortisol hormone is a deterrent for pancreas to secrete insulin, which is required to stabilize the concentration of sugar within the blood cells.

Also, read: Calling millennial women! These 4 factors are putting you at risk of diabetes

Insulin resistance is one of the primary causes behind diabetes and as cortisol suppresses the release of insulin from pancreas, therefore glucose levels in the blood remain high. Another disturbance that our body goes through due to increased stress is lack of sleep which is also accountable for worsening the condition of a diabetic patient.

Curb your stress—that’s the only way forward

Stress is a byproduct of our modern, fast-paced lives. People often don’t understand that they are stressed and many people tend to deny the fact that they are stressed.

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If we understand the root cause behind our stress, we can find out ways to reduce it. Following a healthy diet, taking time out for yoga or other physical exercises, engaging ourselves in activities that help us to lighten our mood such as spending time with our family and friends post working hours etc can help in de-stressing.

So, it’s very important for diabetic patients to follow a balanced nutritious diet, doing physical exercises on a regular basis and having a healthy social life beside the work life to keep them stress-free that will be eventually helpful in controlling their diabetes.

Dr Sohail Durani Dr Sohail Durani

Dr Sohail Durani is an associate consultant at the Department of Endocrinology at Fortis Hospital, Gurugram

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