• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Stress And Diabetes: Is There A Link?

All of us have faced unbearable situations in life related to work, finances, marriage, and health. These situations have made us tensed or emotionally strained. This feeling of not being able to cope with the rising pressure of overwhelming problems is known as stress. Life is full of unpredictable situations and surprises. So being stressed naturally means that your alive and fully involved in your life.

However, problems begin when we always feel anxious, tense, or strained. This chronic stress makes us vulnerable to various types of stress related disorders.

One of the most common and widely diagnosed stress related disorders is diabetes. The situation gets pretty tricky here. Stress not only worsens your diabetes but can also cause you to have diabetes. Let’s find out how.

The Link between Diabetes and Stress

Stress, diabetes

Man feeling stressed, Credit: Pixabay


Chronic stress causes a person to follow an unhealthy lifestyle behavior. It includes eating high sugar and high-fat food, not exercising at all, increasing alcohol consumption, and smoking. Stress raises the cortisol level in your body. It stimulates the production of glucose and raises your blood sugar levels. A raised blood sugar level is one of the first symptoms of diabetes.

On the other hand, if you’re diagnosed with diabetes, the constant need to regulate your blood sugar levels and plan your meals can leave you frustrated and stressed. Hence, stress is linked in two ways with diabetes. Let’s see how stress can affect your diabetes in various ways.

Ways in Which Stress Affects Diabetes

  1. Activation of fat cells

  2. Greater insulin resistance

  3. Disturbed sleep

  4. High blood sugar levels

1.  Activation of Fat Cells

Fat cells

Fat cells illustration, Credit: Pixabay


High-stress levels lead to the production of more cortisol in the body. Cortisol causes an enzyme to reassign fat from its current position in your body to the fat cells in your abdomen area. It leads to an accumulation of belly fat. Prolonged stress increases the amount of your abdominal fat and leaves you prone to diabetes and other heart diseases. Moreover, cortisol increases the amount of your food cravings, which makes it even more challenging to manage your diabetes.

2. Greater Insulin Resistance

insulin, health

insulin injection, Credit: Pixabay


Your pancreas is unable to secrete insulin when cortisol levels are high. Insulin is crucial to use blood sugar for energy and for stabilizing your blood glucose levels. When the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, glucose levels stay high, leading to insulin resistance. It worsens the condition of diabetes.

3. Disturbed Sleep

Sleeplessness, health

a person on bed, Credit: Pixabay


Those who don’t get enough sleep suffer from weakened glucose tolerance. Being sleepless makes you feel tired, and you search for food sources of energy. Eventually, you end up consuming high sugar foods that spike your blood sugar levels. It directly leads to the onset of or worsening of type 2 diabetes.

4. High Blood Sugar Levels

blood sugar monitor

Blood sugarmonitor, Credit: Pixabay


When your tensed, your blood sugar rises. It is because the stress hormone cortisol speeds up your heart rate and breathing. When this happens, it causes a rise in glucose levels as your body prepares for a stressful situation to give you energy. All of this eventually results in high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels are directly linked to diabetes.

How to De-stress and Manage Diabetes

  1. Exercise regularly.

  2. Practice mindfulness, meditation, and yoga.

  3. Eat a well-balanced diet.

  4. Manage your anger.

  5. Avoid consuming excessive caffeine and alcohol.

1.  Exercise Regularly

Regularly engaging in physical activity is the best way to manage blood sugar levels and defeat diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. It also boosts your confidence, enhances sleep quality, and protects you against other cognitive conditions.

2. Practice Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga

Mindfulness means being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. It is practiced during meditation. As you focus on your breaths, you become more aware of yourself. It alleviates stress and gives you greater and peace.

Yoga consists of postures and movements, combined with meditation and breathing techniques. It is greatly beneficial to reduce anxiety and depression, enhance energy levels, and improve digestion. Yoga will provide you an overall feeling of well-being.

3. Eat a Well Balanced Diet

What you eat directly impacts your blood sugar levels. The more junk you’ll eat, the more is the likelihood of you feeling hungry again and reaching out for more. Eating a well-balanced diet comprising of complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, brown bread, and plenty of citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables will go a long way in stabilizing your blood sugar levels and reducing stress. By boosting your energy levels, eating a well-balanced diet will also help prevent other diseases caused by stress.

4. Manage Your Anger

Anger is also a significant contributor to elevated stress. You need to find out the reason behind your bouts of anger and rage and address them as soon as possible. Whenever you feel angry, take deep breaths, drink water, sit down, or go for a walk.

5. Avoid Consuming Excessive Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol will not only trigger cortisol in your body but will also make you a victim of developing various other kidney and liver diseases. High amounts of caffeine and alcohol make you experience mood swings. You feel anxious, even for no reason. Excessive levels of alcohol alter your sleep patterns and make you feel stressed the next day.

Diabetes is one of the leading stress induced disorders that plague the majority of the population. It can wreak havoc with your blood sugar and blood glucose levels. Contrary to what you might think, it is not difficult to prevent stress and, as a result, diabetes. A healthy lifestyle is of utmost importance in managing both diabetes and stress.

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