Here is how stress can affect your blood sugar levels

Dr Roshani Gadge, diabetologist, explains to us why stress is bad for diabetics.

Stress has earned a bad rep for being the culprit of all our health problems and illnesses. If anything goes wrong we straightaway blame it on stress without giving a second thought. Indeed when it comes to stress little can we do to control the triggers situations or the emotions - but we can choose how to act to minimalise the damage. But this is where we go wrong and fail to take control of the situation. For people who suffer from diabetes, stress can wreak havoc on their health like o other. Here are 13 more reasons to take stress seriously.

'Stress is a state of emotional strain or tension that occurs when we feel that we can't cope with the general pressures of life. Normally stress is associated with behavioural problems such as binge eating, consumption of high fat, energy-dense food, poor dietary choices, physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. It also reduces sleep quality and impairs mental peace by making one prone to depression, anxiety, insecurity and low self-esteem. These behavioural changes lead to obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes. This is why stress is thought to be the biggest contributing factor for diabetes in the recent times,' says Dr Roshani Gadge, diabetologist, Mumbai.

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If you are a diabetic there are more reasons why you should learn to manage your stress first and then your blood sugar. 'When you are stressed, the hormones your body produces in response may cause a rise in your blood sugar level. This can make it harder to control blood sugar levels despite medications. One of the reasons for this is that stress hormones, such as cortisol, increase the amount of sugar in our blood,' says Dr Roshini.

Insulin as a hormone fights the effects of stress hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. But diabetics either have an absolute lack of insulin (as in case of type 1 diabetes) or a relative lack of insulin (as in case of type 2 diabetes). So, they do not have that compensatory mechanism to cope with these hormones, which results in spiking blood sugar levels under stress.

What you can do:

Maintain a routine: If you are a diabetic maintain a routine and practice clean eating. Make sure to follow a healthy balanced diet and indulge in regular physical activity to reduce the effects of stress. Usually following a routine helps to control the negative effects of the raging hormones. Be particular about your diet, if you eat well and exercise you will notice your stress levels dropping.

Take up a sport: In addition, to manage stress you can start playing a sport this helps to burn calories, improve insulin sensitivity, dissemination of glucose and reduces the effects of cortisol.

Try relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, also help in reducing stress. Any de-stressing activity you engage in will also increase your overall productivity while increasing your happiness quotient. All of this will help to keep the stress hormones in control and blood sugar levels in check.

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