Person squeezing a stress ball


How does stress affect diabetes? Well, stress happens when something causes your body to act. Acute stress is when your body reacts to something that is short-lived. Chronic stress lasts quite a bit longer.

Your body releases hormones when you are stressed. Your muscles will become tense. The pulse begins to increase.

However, in people with diabetes, that fight or flight response doesn’t work very well. Insulin is not always able to get extra energy into the cells. In this case, the glucose piles up in the blood.


Some forms of stress can be long-term. For example, knee replacement surgery can take months to recover. My 81-year-old mother had this surgery and she was stressed for quite a few months. As a result, her long-term stress caused long-term high blood glucose levels.

Most long-term stress is mental. Your mind sometimes reacts to a harmless event and thinks it’s a real threat. Like physical stress, mental stress can be short-term.

How does stress affect diabetes, well with mental stress, the body just keeps pumping out hormones. Neither fighting or fleeing which is no help when the enemy is in your mind.


Reduce the stressors in your life. There are ways for you to manage stress.

Other ways to combat stress:

  • Begin doing exercises
  • Yoga
  • Take a walk in the park
  • Find a new hobby
  • Become a volunteer at a hospital
  • Meditating


Relaxation therapy seems to work for people with diabetes. It helps more people with type 2 than type 1 diabetes. In people with type 2 diabetes, stress blocks your body from releasing insulin.

Cutting out any stress that you are having would be much more helpful. Stress reduction in people with type 1 diabetes doesn’t work because they don’t make insulin at all.

How does stress affect your diabetes? No matter what you do, some sources of stress will never go away. Having diabetes is one of those.

Still, you can reduce the stress of living with diabetes. Joining local support groups can help. Getting to know other people that have diabetes. Also, learn how other people cope with stress or problems. Ask your healthcare provider, if you need help with any issues.

It is possible to manage your diabetes effectively and live a happy healthy lifestyle. Being proactive with your diabetes can help to alleviate the stress in your life.

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