Did you know that stress raises your blood sugar levels?
It is true! It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about mental, emotional or physical stress, our body responds the same way by releasing hormones. These hormones are called epinephrine or adrenaline and cortisol. When we are dealing with an isolated stressful event, we can have a very brief rise in blood sugar levels which is considered normal. When we are under long-term or chronic stressful situations, this release of our stress hormones can cause our blood sugar levels in the bloodstream to rise which leads to insulin resistance in the body. When epinephrine is released it causes the body to increase the demand for glucose. The body stores glucose in the form of glycogen. Epinephrine causes glycogen stores to be broken down into glucose and released into the blood stream. This increases the blood glucose levels in the blood.
The reason why this happens is to provide glucose as fuel for your muscles, your heart and your brain during times of stress to get you out of stressful situation. This is part of the fight or flight response designed to help you get out of stressful situations quickly.
Epinephrine also causes insulin levels in the blood to decrease. Insulin is the hormone that lowers blood glucose levels by helping glucose enter into cells. If insulin levels decrease it allows blood glucose levels to rise.
Cortisol, which is another stress hormone, also increases glucose release into the blood stream increasing glucose blood sugar levels. It also causes insulin levels in the blood to decrease. Cortisol effects last much longer than epinephrine’s effects.
The results of all the hormone interactions is that chronic or consistent stress can raise your blood sugar levels. What can you do about it? You can first recognize if stress is playing a part in your blood sugar levels. Once you realize this you need to create a plan to help you manage your blood sugar levels better. This plan will need to include understanding how the foods you are eating impact your diet, setting up a consistent exercise routine and creating a stress management plan to manage your stress. If you are not sure how to do these three steps then you need to set up an appointment with Dr. Dae to learn how to take your health back by understanding how to manage your blood sugars!
Dr. Daemon Jones