The Impact of Stress on Blood Sugar

Kelsey Bonilla Health Guide
  • 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! 

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    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?

Published On: February 20, 2013