The Impact of Stress on Blood Sugar
I’m lucky not to have that much stress in my life. I have the daily routine of being a working mom, balancing work, kids, errands, chores, etc. But, it’s not stressful and usually even joyful. However, a couple of weeks ago I had a very stressful work situation that dragged on for several days. During this few day stretch, I was eating my normal paleo/low carb diet, exercising daily, and generally giving my diabetes its share of attention. Nothing else was different, other than my stress and emotion level. So, I feel I can definitely conclude that stress was the reason for my astronomically high blood sugars!
I had several instances of testing my blood and being shocked by the result staring back at me: 345 mg/dl, 310 mg/dl, 322 mg/dl. There was not a single food or insulin based culprit that I could blame these crazy blood sugars on. In an attempt to eliminate variables, I stopped using a fairly new pen of Lantus insulin, which didn’t make a difference.
Wow, what an interesting (and frustrating!) experience to so clearly see the impact of stress on my blood sugar control. I’d always considered my arsenal of diabetes management tools to include: good food choices, regular blood sugar testing, accurate carbohydrate counting, and timely insulin delivery. Stress management was something I put in the “mental health” category much more than considering it in terms of my physical health. Perhaps, now that I have my diabetes management dialed in quite well, the effects of stress are easier to recognize (as opposed to causing highs among an bunch of erratic blood glucose numbers).
As I said, luckily my job and my life are not typically that stressful. But, next time something starts to stress me out, I’ll have a good medical reason to manage it quickly. Spa day, maybe?