Does Stress Play a Part in the Development of Diabetes?

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Type 2 diabetes is epidemic throughout the world, following on the obesity epidemic. Stress produces specific hormones which can raise blood sugar levels. Could this be at least part of the reason for the Type 2 diabetes epidemic?

In April of 2018, The Journal of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences reported on a study of lifetime stressful events, also lifetime stressful events from the Mercer University School of Medicine in Georgia and the Michigan State University in East Lansing, United States. A total of 7956 participants were included in the study. Stress-related events at the same age when a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis was confirmed, were recorded…

  • for individuals suffering recent stress, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increased 23 percent.
  • the risk rose 5 percent for lifetime stress, and
  • six percent for an increase in overall stress-related events.

Each level of lifetime stress, when compared to no pressure, was more significantly associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.From the above results, the researchers concluded stress was associated with the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Lowering the effect of pressure on the body could prove to be one way of preventing new cases of Type 2 diabetes from developing and warrants further investigation.

In 2013 the American Diabetes Association pointed out two primary ways stress could affect fasting blood sugar levels. One way has merely to do with behavior during stressful times. People under pressure from life’s stressful events such as divorce, changing jobs, moving, or losing family members…

  • might not take adequate care of themselves,
  • not eat well,
  • eat too much or not enough,
  • not stay with a regular program of physical routine, or
  • not have enough or good rest.

The other fundamental way has to do with hormones. When our mind or body comes under stress, hormones get ready for the fight or flight response. The fight or flight response puts sugar and fat into the bloodstream to be used by the body for its protection or defense.Hormones the body sends out into the bloodstream to cope with stress include…

  • cortisol – raises blood sugar levels.
  • Norepinephrine – released from the nervous system to affect the heart rate, breathing, and the force of skeletal muscles.
  • cortico-releasing hormone – regulates other glands to redistribute fat.
  • adrenocorticotropic hormone –stimulates ACTH from the anterior pituitary gland
  • endorphins – activate analgesic effects, making body able to cope with pain

Reducing stress will help you control your Type 2 diabetes because lowering your stress can help reduce high blood sugar levels. Beginning a program of stress management will give you more control over your life.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.


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