Not so sweet

The impact of stress on diabetes can be disastrous. Here’s why

Published: 05th May 2022 06:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2022 06:56 AM   |  A+A-

Early duration and mild diabetes can be managed with only lifestyle modifications which includes a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

Representational image

By Express News Service

KOCHUI: One of the deadliest health conditions in today’s world is diabetes and one of the major causes of blindness, kidney failure, stroke, heart attacks, and limb amputation. Research has proven that stress has a significant effect on our metabolism as it stimulates the release of various hormones.

This can result in elevated blood glucose levels. When our body experiences stress or feels threatened, it reacts and activates a fight or flight response. Meanwhile, the body releases adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream, increasing respiratory rates and running the blood to muscles and limbs. Now, if a person has diabetes or is prone to it, their body may not be able to process the released glucose. As a result, their body may not be able to convert glucose into energy, causing a build-up of glucose in the bloodstream. Thus, the sugar level rises.

Ways to Cope
Individuals suffering from diabetes are more prone to experiencing negative emotions due to the level of tension caused by the disease. To manage diabetes-related stress, tech and lifestyle changes can help.

  • Stress management coaching interventions: It has been seen that adults with diabetes in developing regions may be unable to afford conventionally available medical care due to financial issues.  In such cases, rational-emotive cognitive behavioural coaching or RE-CBC can be successfully used as a stress management programme for assisting adult learners with type 2 diabetes in reducing stress.  
  • Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Intervention (MBSR): In a study published in the Iranian Journal of Diabetes and Obesity, 2021, a low dose MBSR intervention was delivered in a group format over 4 waves, each wave comprising 8 to 10 hours of 8 sessions over 6 to 8 weeks. Most participants reported positive experiences with low-dose MBSR and a concluding result showed that it is a feasible method to control glucose levels in prediabetics and diabetics. 
  • Physical Activity: Regular physical activity, meditation, informed meal plans and insulin dosing decisions are significant in managing stress & diabetes.

Although it is nearly impossible to avoid stress in the world we live in, it is surely manageable. Stress and diabetes both present us with a scary set of challenges, but it is not impossible to lead a healthy and happy life while fighting this disease.

(The writer is chief endocrinologist and diabetologist, Aster RV Hospital)

Dr Manjunath Malige


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