To Your Health
August, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 08)
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Stress Less to Keep Your Blood Sugar in Line

By Editorial Staff

Can stress elevate your blood sugar? Particularly if you're a type 2 diabetic, the answer is yes, which is particularly disturbing since high blood sugar is already a major problem for you.

For healthy people without type 2 diabetes, the stress hormone (cortisol) appears to fluctuate during the day; but for people with type 2 diabetes, cortisol stays "flat" – in other words, it hangs around. That constant presence is linked to higher blood sugar, according to research published in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Because stress is one of the major reasons why cortisol is produced, it's essential for type 2 diabetics (whose blood sugar is already perpetually elevated) to manage / reduce that stress. Otherwise, their condition will only get worse. The study authors also suggest that even people without type 2 diabetes should practice stress reduction as a way to help prevent elevated blood sugar, which could eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.

The study assessed cortisol and blood glucose levels over a six-year period, so on the one hand, a few days of stress probably aren't going to cause long-term problems. However, as we all know too well, stress generally doesn't last just a few days; in fact, in many people, it's an everyday burden.

That's a dangerous road that can lead to chronically elevated cortisol and blood sugar – and increase your risk of joining the 30 million-plus U.S. adults who currently suffer from type 2 diabetes. Stressed out and can't find a way out? Your doctor can help.