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How does stress affect type 1 diabetes?

How does stress affect type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetics are often curious about the effect of stress on them. Does stress really affect type 1 diabetes or is it just a myth. Don’t go anywhere as you will learn everything about the relation between stress and diabetes in the light of our researchers.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is one of the rarest types of diabetes in terms of cases diagnosed. T1d is a chronic disease and a type one diabetic is unable to either produce insulin properly.It is mostly diagnosed in children and youngsters and most number of cases reported in United States of America are 14 years old. How type 1 diabetes is linked with stress, let’s find out.

How does Stress affect type 1 diabetes?

Stress and Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes has no permanent cure and therefore once diagnosed, it becomes a lifelong disease. Diabetes management is very important specially the levels of glucose. A type 1 diabetic needs to control its blood sugar to avoid short-term and long-term complications.

Stress has a direct link with the glucose level. Whether it is a physical or mental stress, it is proved that it triggers the blood sugar level. Stress is something that a t1 diabetic needs to control because constant stress will elevate the glucose levels. Hence, for diabetics, stress is very problematic and dangerous.

Stress is kind of an emotional reaction of your body to tense situations. For non-diabetics, stress may cause headache or fatigue but when it comes to type 1 diabetics an added problem like high blood glucose level also play its part.

Stress Hormones: Adrenaline and Cortisol

There are two stress hormones released by your body called Adrenaline and Cortisol. When your body experiences stress, as a reaction, it releases these two hormones into the bloodstream. The blood glucose is elevated and your nerve cells starts to fire.

If you have type 1 diabetes, this firing of nerve cells will disallow your body to process the glucose. Your body should convert the glucose into energy but a t1d body cannot convert it and it builds up in bloodstream. Consequently, the glucose level arises.

Stress affecting type 1 diabetics

Stress can be emotional as well as mental and both these stresses can affect a type one diabetic. Interesting part is that unlike type 2 diabetics, who only experiences an inclined blood sugar level, a type 1 diabetic may face either increase or decrease in the glucose levels.

Stress may only lead to an increase or decrease in the blood sugar level directly. But indirectly, it can be dangerous for your health if you have constant stress, either mental or physical. Stress increases blood sugar level and we know that type 1 diabetics needs to control their sugar levels.

Uncontrolled sugar levels for short or long period of time might cause short-term or long-term complications. These complications are developed overtime and sometimes take 10 years to develop. But once developed, they damage your tiny and large blood vessels.

Micro-vascular complications

A damage to tiny blood vessels instigate micro-vascular complications. Your eyes, kidneys and nerves are affected in case of micro-vascular complications.

Macro-vascular complications

When your large blood vessels are damaged due to uncontrolled glucose levels overtime. You may have to face macro-vascular complications in which your heart is at risk. Macro-vascular complications are developed when blood glucose is not controlled for 5-10 years and the chances of heart attack are maximum.

How type 1 diabetics can reduce their stress?

So now you understand how stress can cause danger to your health both directly and indirectly. You should follow some practices in order to reduce your mental and physical stress. Here are some of the proven practices and stress relieving strategies to control your stress and prevent glucose level from inclining.

    1. Observe yourself and find out the time when you feel stress. Check your blood glucose level when you are stress free and when you are in stress. Note down the blood sugar level and the amount of stress from 1 to 10 parallel to each other. This scale from 1 to 10 is up to you because you better know the amount of stress you go through. This practice will help you gauge the effect of stress on your blood sugar levels so you can take necessary steps according to it.
    2. Medication is another way to control your stress. If you are a stress patient along with the type 1 diabetes, you cannot bear both of these together. Take medication prescribed by your doctor.
    3. Medication can never be the ultimate solution as continuous use of stress relieving medicines will damage your organs like liver etc. Meditation is therefore more recommended. There are body relaxation or body peaceful techniques which helps your mind to fight this stress with positivity.
    4. Do what makes you happy. Everyone has their own causes of happiness and happiness relieve your stress. Try to stay happy by doing activities that makes you happy.
    5. According to some researches, chewing gum can also relieve your stress. A type 1 diabetic can chew sugar free gum.
    6. Do exercise as it will benefit you twice. Stress hormones are lessen by doing exercise and your hemoglobin is maintained.
    7. Taking yoga classes is known as the trendiest way to relieve stress over past few years.
    8. Stop thinking about you being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes so early. Try to stay positive by reading and listening to those who lived a long happy life as a diabetic.
    9. Find a place with no noise in your house and sit in a relaxing position. Start taking deep breathes for 5-10 minutes.

Causes of stress in type 1 diabetics

There are many causes of stress in type 1 diabetics. Most of these are also reasons of stress in normal persons.

    1. The number one cause of stress in a type 1 diabetic is the diabetes itself. As t1 diabetes is mostly diagnosed in children or youngsters below 28. It becomes stressful for them thinking about this lifelong chronic disease.
    2. Losing a job is one of the major reasons of stress all over the world.
    3. Death of your loved one.
    4. Breaking up with someone you loved.
    5. Being diagnosed with chronic disease like diabetes.
    6. Migrating to a new city or country.
    7. Failure in business.
    8. Failure in academics.

Symptoms of Stress in type 1 diabetics

Here are few symptoms of stress in a type 1 diabetics.

    • Increase in the blood glucose level
    • Headache
    • Sleeping disorder
    • Upset stomach
    • Feeling ill
    • Fatigue or tiredness
    • Feeling unmotivated
    • Feeling restless
    • Feeling depressed

If you are a type 1 diabetic and you observe these symptoms in your body, there are higher chances that you are going through stress. You need to follow practices shared above to reduce the amount of stress.

Can stress cause type 1 diabetes?

Till now we discussed the effect of stress on type 1 diabetic but you might be curious to know whether stress can cause diabetes or not.

The good news is that there is no research with evidence according to which stress causes type 1 diabetes. Stressful events or even a permanent stress due to a tragedy cannot cause type 1 diabetes.

Ask more about Type 1 diabetes

How does stress affect type 1 diabetes? We hope you got the answer of this question. We try to deliver you with the most relevant information based on our research. You can ask more questions about type 1 diabetes in the comment section. Our researchers would love to help you out with the best of their knowledge and abilities. Search our blog to learn and know more diabetes.

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