Welcome to M.V Hospital for Diabetes, established by late Prof. M.Viswanathan, Doyen of Diabetology in India in 1954 as a general hospital. In 1971 it became a hospital exclusively for Diabetes care. It has, at present,100 beds for the treatment of diabetes and its complications.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Stress and Diabetes - Part 1

Stress can be physical or mental.

Most people get stressed when physical conditions like injury or illness or mental conditions like problems in relationships, job, health, or finances cause their bodies to behave as if it were under attack.

When stress strikes, the body prepares to take action. This preparation is called the fight- freeze or-flight response. In the fight-freeze or flight response, levels of many hormones shoot up and make a lot of stored energy — glucose and fat — available to cells so that they can help the body get away from danger.

 What is the fight-freeze or flight response?

The fight-freeze or flight response is a mechanism which helps us to deal with threats and stressful situations.

When faced with a threat, one automatically gets ready to either freeze or  stop in shock, fight the threat or make a quick escape. The level of blood sugar for energy increases, blood pressure increases to take fresh oxygen to working muscles and adrenalin is released for better concentration and alertness.

What can cause stress?

Every- day stresses such the stress of a job, meeting deadlines, economic uncertainty, maintaining social relationships and the demands of raising children all activate the same fight –freeze or flight response.
Stress can result in Type 2 diabetes

Different forms of emotional stress increase the risk of occurrence of diabetes and also its advancement.

Emotional stress, especially depression, general emotional stress, anxiety, anger/hostility, and sleeping problems can increase the risk for the development of type 2 diabetes in 2 ways. The first is through behavioural changes such as unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, - poor food habits in terms of quality and quantity of food, low exercise levels, smoking and alcohol abuse (Bonnet et al., 2005; Rod et al., 2009). 

The other is through physiological changes that result in abdominal obesity (Björntorp, 2001; Vogelzangs et al., 2008) and other changes in immune system activity (Leonard and Myint, 2009), (Anisman, 2009).

All these factors are well-known risk factors for the development of Type 2 diabetes.
We still know very little about the mechanisms by which different forms of emotional stress increase the risk of diabetes incidence and progression. It is important for future research to explore these and other potential pathways in detail.

How Stress Affects Diabetes

In people who have diabetes, the fight-freeze or-flight response does not work well. Insulin is not always able to let the extra energy into the cells, so glucose piles up in the blood.

Many sources of stress are long-term threats. For example, it can take many months to recover from surgery. Stress hormones that are designed to deal with short-term danger stay turned on for a long time. As a result, long-term stress can cause long-term high blood glucose levels. With mental stress, the body pumps out hormones for no useful purpose. Neither fighting nor fleeing is any help when the "enemy" is your own mind.

In people with diabetes, stress can alter blood glucose levels in two ways:

People under stress may not take good care of themselves. They may drink more alcohol or exercise less. They may forget, or not have time, to check their glucose levels or plan good meals or take medication.

Stress hormones may also alter blood glucose levels directly.

In people with type 2 diabetes, mental stress often raises blood glucose levels. Physical stress, such as illness or injury, causes higher blood glucose levels in people with either type of diabetes.

  Find out whether mental stress affects your glucose control    

Before checking your glucose levels, write down a number on a rating scale of 1 to 10 ranking your mental stress level. Then write down your glucose level next to it. After a week or two, look for a pattern. Drawing a graph may help you see trends better. Do high stress levels often occur with high glucose levels, and low stress levels with low glucose levels? If so, stress may affect your glucose control.



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