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The Official Link Between Chronic Stress and Diabetes


stress response

More and more, research finds that stress is a problem to be taken seriously — not only because of its dangerous impact on the brain, but because it also increases the risk for multiple health threats, not the least of which is diabetes.

What Is the Body’s Response to Stress?

When you feel stressed, the body releases hormones like adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol to give you the means of dealing with the stressor. The hormones produce the “fight or flight response” that involves an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as well as an elevation in blood sugar and other effects.

Because another stress hormone, norepinephrine, inhibits the release of insulin, bouts of stress can cause damaging blood sugar spikes. This is true for both diabetics and non-diabetics. When insulin is lacking and glucose can’t reach the cells, symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, hunger and headaches can set in — symptoms that many people write off as normalities.

How Stress Leads to Diabetes

The part of the fight or flight response that poses a health risk to diabetes is the spike in blood sugar, without which a person wouldn’t have the energy to deal with a threat. When you frequently encounter stressors like marital tensions, job challenges, health issues or financial struggles, your blood sugar stays high, which leads to diabetes. Regardless of whether your stress is physical, such as recovering from an injury, or mental, such as working under a demanding boss, your body is releasing hormones that put you at risk.

What Can You Do to Manage Stress?        

Like many people, you may have difficulties in your life that won’t go away any time soon. However, don’t despair because stress can be managed through an array of techniques. Below are some tension reducers recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

  • Start an exercise program or take dance lessons. Much research shows physical activity stimulates the body’s production of stress-lowering chemicals.
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. The mind is a powerful thing, and optimism is associated with many health benefits that include better psychological wellbeing.
  • Take up a new hobby. Experts say these activities are healthy distractions that can provide solace and give you a break from your struggles. Your options include pursuits such as playing cards, sports, gardening, cooking and painting. The possibilities are innumerable.
  • Relax through breathing exercises or progressive relaxation therapy.
  • Volunteer at a charity or hospital. Studies show volunteering produces several mental benefits, including a lower stress level.
  • Join a support group. Just knowing others share the same struggles can make you feel less alone, and making friends can lighten your burden.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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