Winning the Battle Against StressIN WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
The stress of family, a new house project or work, whether it affects mental or physical well-being, is a headache for anyone. For those living with diabetes, however, stress affects the body differently, and it can have potentially harmful effects on glucose levels, as well as other diabetes-related health concerns.
The body responds to short- or long-term stress with a fight-or-flight defense. Hormone levels increase dramatically, causing a chain reaction throughout the body to provide energy to individual cells for either a fight or an escape. While physical stress is typically situational and short term, mental stress can be more difficult to relieve as the body prepares for an intangible threat.
For a person with diabetes, a lack of insulin blocks glucose, a source of energy, from fueling the cells in a fight or flight reaction. This can lead to heightened glucose levels. Stress can also increase the risk of diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease, hypertension and stroke, and general neglect of healthy diet and exercise habits.
Find Your Coping Method
Life is full of stress, and living with diabetes can add its own challenges. Although you can’t avoid all stress, you can improve your quality of life by establishing an approach to calm yourself, such as:
- An accepting attitude to see the stress as a smaller dilemma
- A problem-solving stance to address stress head on
- A support network of family, friends and others with diabetes to learn from and lean on
| A Deep Breath of Fresh Air
Alhough stress may seem like an overwhelming feeling, you can regain control of your body. Relaxing breathing techniques can effectively decrease your heightened blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones while loosening tight muscles and bringing your body back to center from a stressful situation. The simple four steps to peace are:
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Sources: niddk.nih.gov, diabetes.org, helpguide.org, msnbc.msn.com
For more information on diabetes, call HRMC’s diabetes educator at 353-6326 or visit us online.