Stress is one of the most important factors responsible for causing and worsening a variety of illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. So how does stress affect diabetes? Take this quiz to find out.
1. How does stress affect your blood sugar?
A. Stress does not affect blood sugar.
B. Stress can lower blood sugar.
C. Stress can raise blood sugar.
D. Stress affects blood pressure but not blood sugar.
5. Which of the following is not a symptom of stress?
A. Grinding teeth
B. Inability to sweat
1. D. According to the American Diabetes Association, chronic stress can raise blood sugar. Mental stress in particular can tax the body more than physical stress, probably because the body sees stress as a “flight-or-fight” situation and responds by producing stress hormones to prepare for the battle. People enduring mental stress may be more prone to making poor health choices when it comes to eating, substance abuse, sleep, and self-care. While all these factors can undoubtedly have poor effects on blood sugar, the increased production of stress hormones (due to long-term mental stress) can raise blood sugar.
2. D. Exercise can help to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and releases endorphins — the feel-good chemicals that make you happy. And according to the American Psychological Association, the positive, stress-reducing effects of exercise can last several hours after a good sweat. Many studies suggest meditation and practicing mindfulness help reduce stress. A good laugh can lift your mood and release tension, too. Finally, meaningful social activities can help bring you through the doldrums and relieve stress.
3. A, C, D. B vitamins help support a healthy nervous system, and deficiencies in B vitamins can make you feel tired, depressed, and overall irritable. According to American Family Physician, magnesium supports more than 300 biological functions in the body. Unfortunately, as many as 70 percent of people worldwide are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium helps relax muscles, regulate heartbeat, and support restful sleep. Stress depletes the body’s stores of vitamin C, making you more prone to getting sick.
4. B. Chronic stress increases your risk for many illnesses because it affects so many body organs and your overall health. In addition to the psychological signs and symptoms, chronic stress decreases sperm count in men and causes menstrual irregularity in women. Stress can also worsen conditions you already have such as diabetes and thyroid disease, but it can increase your risk for developing these conditions if you don’t already have them. Because stress encourages the release of flight-or-fight hormones such as epinephrine, elevated levels of these hormones stress the heart and blood vessels and can cause heart disease.
5. B. Symptoms of stress can manifest in many ways, including some less-often signs and symptoms such as grinding teeth, stomach problems (i.e., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation, etc.), and memory problems. Some people sweat profusely when stressed.
Want to learn more about maintaining emotional health with diabetes? Read “Reducing Diabetes Stress: Alternative Treatements” and “Relaxation Techniques for Stressful Times.”