Stress and Diabetes
Diabetes management is a constant process; for many, it is an ongoing challenge that may be complicated by the impact of stress. Excessive stress is a major barrier to effective glucose control and a danger to one’s general health.
When a child has diabetes, the family’s potential for stress is high. The child with diabetes, parents and siblings all feel their own share of stress.
How Can Stress Be Harmful?
Excessive stress works against diabetes management by:
- Increasing blood glucose levels (quickly and substantially)
- Inciting strong negative emotions
- Impairing sound thinking and decision-making
- Tempting compulsive, poor eating
Whether or not you have diabetes, over time, stress is harmful because it causes so much wear and tear on the body.
For example, the heart works faster and harder in preparation for physical action. The increase in pulse and blood pressure causes a strain on the heart, veins and arteries.
Prolonged stress also has a negative impact on other bodily systems:
- Renal (kidney)
In addition, the ability to think clearly and to make good decisions is impaired when the mind is burdened with worry, anxiety or fear. This constant mental strain can also increase the risk for depression.
Mindful Living─An Antidote to Stress
Most people feel some of these symptoms at different times in their lives. The good news is that there are many strategies and skills for keeping stress at a minimum. Most stress-busting techniques begin with living mindfully.
Being mindful is being aware of what is happening within yourself and in the world around you. It is being aware of what you are doing and why, being aware of what is working and what is not working for you.
It is always being aware of possibilities, of the choices you have in every situation.
Being stress smart is necessary for effective diabetes management. And the successful management of stress is essential to the well-being of everyone in a family with diabetes.
A mindful approach to coping with diabetes opens the way to using a variety of tools for preventing avoidable stress and keeping unavoidable stress at