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Are You Stressed Out?

Learning to recognize the signs and triggers

Stress and life with diabetesStress might sometimes feel inevitable – part of the fabric of everyday life. But constant, poorly managed stress may take a toll on both mind and body. April is Stress Awareness Month, so whether you live with diabetes or take care of a loved one who does, now is a good time to learn about how stress may be affecting you. Diabetes is complicated

Stress is one of the many things that may affect daily blood sugar highs and lows. Other factors include diet, physical activity, extremes in weather, illness and a person’s age or gender.

Further reading: The many factors, including stress, that contribute to daily highs and lows.

stress_largeFor some people, diabetes and stress may go hand in hand. Carb counting and creating meal plans, testing blood glucose levels, scheduling healthcare appointments – it might feel like a lot of pressure. But, whether you live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, unchecked stress may affect insulin resistance and impact blood glucose levels. In addition, chronic stress may be exhausting, making it more difficult to eat healthfully, get regular physical activity or take care of yourself in general.

Further reading: How and why stress affects diabetes, and how to test your blood glucose if you have concerns about your stress levels.

Stress might also contribute to the feeling of being on an emotional rollercoaster. Self-care tasks or feeling anxious about your health may lead to negative thoughts and feelings.

Further reading: Family therapist and CDE* Janis Roszler shares 20 tips to stabilize negative moods.

diabetes-police_large Do friends or family nag you about your diabetes? Unsolicited advice from the so-called “diabetes police” may be motivated by love and concern, but could contribute to your feelings of being wound up too tight. 

Further reading: Don’t let the diabetes police add to your stress! Try some of these suggestions to educate and inform those who want to help.

Are you in a diabetes rut?
If you’re stressed out, you may feel like you’re stuck in rut that you can’t get out of – no matter how much effort you put into your diabetes management. If having less energy feels like your “new normal” or you avoid certain activities because of your diabetes, these may be signs that you should talk to your care team about stress.

Further reading: Are you in a diabetes rut? Take this short quiz now and find out.

In next week’s Discuss Diabetes post, we will share ways to incorporate mindfulness and other stress-reducing techniques into life, as well as some stress-management tips for caregivers.

Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE*, LD/N, is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewees and/or contributors, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.  *“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services. © 2015 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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