How Stress Impacts Diabetes

Stress affects your mind, body, and overall health. Unfortunately, in today’s world, we experience internal and external stresses all the time. From sitting in traffic jams to global pandemics to illness, stress surrounds us. 

For the nearly 30 million Americans with diabetes, 95% of whom struggle with type 2 diabetes, having this condition which affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, this connection between stress and health is concerning. And the incidence of diabetes is on the rise. 

If you’re worried about diabetes, you may wonder how stress impacts this serious health disorder. Nicole Kimzey, DO, and our team at Girard Internal Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offer comprehensive internal medicine services, including diagnosing and managing diabetes. 

Our practice also knows that knowledge is power when it comes to your health. So we’ve put together this guide to help you understand the connection between diabetes and stress. Keep reading to learn what you need to know!

Understanding diabetes

Diabetes is a health condition that makes it difficult for your body to regulate blood sugar. Researchers estimate about 5% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder that prevents your body from producing insulin. This disease is typically diagnosed before your adult years and there is no cure for type 1 diabetes. 

Most people in America, however, have type 2 diabetes, which develops over time and is most often diagnosed in adulthood, though more and more cases of childhood and adolescent type 2 diabetes are emerging. 

Common risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

Certain racial and ethnic groups are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including black Americans, Latino Americans, and Native Americans. 

When you have type 2 diabetes, your cells don’t interact correctly with the insulin your pancreas produces to regulate your blood sugar. As a result, your blood sugar level rises, triggering your pancreas to produce more and more insulin. This overload of insulin can lead to serious health complications. 

But type 2 diabetes can be managed with lifestyle changes and rarely requires insulin injections to manage since your body already produces the hormone. 

The link between stress and diabetes

Since stress is connected to so many health problems, it’s no surprise that researchers have found stress can contribute to type 2 diabetes. When your body experiences stress, it puts your body on high alert by releasing stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. 

When you experience long-term or chronic stress, your blood glucose levels can be affected. In addition, excess cortisol stimulates your appetite leading to many people with chronic stress becoming overweight, which raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  

As such, managing stress for people at risk for or diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is essential. 

Help managing diabetes and stress

At Girard Internal Medicine, Dr. Kimzey and our providers can help you manage diabetes and provide guidance on managing stress to improve both conditions. Treatment depends on the type of diabetes you have, but typically includes:

Dr. Kimzey evaluates your medical history and current symptoms to provide an individualized treatment plan, which may include medication or insulin in addition to the above therapies. 

Learn more about the connection between stress and diabetes by contacting Dr. Kimzey at Girard Internal Medicine in Philadelphia or requesting an appointment online today!

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