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Glucerna SR: Diabetes Diet Information

Stress and Blood Glucose Levels

Two types of stress can change blood glucose levels:

  • Physical stress
  • Mental or emotional stress

Each type of stress affects blood glucose levels differently. Physical stress generally causes blood glucose levels to increase.

Physical stress includes:

  • Illness, such as having a fever
  • Surgery
  • Injury

Mental or emotional stress has mixed effects, depending on the type of diabetes you have:

  • Type 1 diabetes: mental stress can increase or decrease blood glucose levels.
  • Type 2 diabetes: mental stress generally raises blood glucose levels.

Stress can also affect your blood glucose levels indirectly. Stress might cause you to forget about the regular routine of your diabetes care plan that helps you control your blood glucose levels. For example, when you are "stressed out," you may:

  • Exercise more or less
  • Eat more or less
  • Eat less healthy foods
  • Not test your blood glucose level as often
  • Forget or delay a dose of medication and/or insulin

Mental Stress Can Affect Your Blood Glucose Levels

Use your diabetes log to discover if mental stress affects your blood glucose levels. This may be especially important if you have type 2 diabetes. Some people with type 2 are quite sensitive to stress. Stress can cause the body to produce especially high levels of stress hormones, which can drive blood glucose levels up. To know if your blood glucose levels are affected by mental stress:

  • Rate your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 indicates the lowest stress level and 10 the highest; record your stress level in your logbook.
  • Test your glucose using your home monitor, and enter the result.
  • After a week or two, study your results to see if there is a pattern or relationship between your stress level and your blood glucose level.

Reducing Mental Stress

Reducing stress is not a trivial task, but it can be done.

  • Teach yourself to relax when under stress by using deep breathing, or by using the techniques you learn in a stress-management class.
  • Evaluate your schedule and determine if you can change it to relieve stress.
  • Exercise regularly, which is a well-known stress reducer.

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