How Stress Affects the Human Body

Stress PixJust the normal daily activities that we each incur daily can cause enough stress to throw off the chemical balance of the human body.

Think about it! Traffic jams, holiday travel, divorce, kids, relatives, and illness. The list can go on and on. What can stress you out may not affect other people the same.

So, here’s a short exercise for you to complete. Make a list of the people or things that stress you out. You see, many people underestimate the effects that stress can have on your body.

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How does stress affect the human body?

Similar to fighting disease or the common, every-day cold, your body prepares for battle. This preparation begins by pumping out stress hormones into your blood from the various glands throughout the body.

The end result is that your body begins to release both stored glucose and fat for energy. The catch is that if there is not enough insulin, then the stored glucose and fat cannot be used and builds up in the blood.

What happens to the blood glucose level when you are under stress?

The first step in determining how your blood glucose level fluctuates in response to stress is to avoid high glucose and high ketone levels. The various stressors will make a large difference in people already at risk.

Physical stress, for instance, which includes injury or illness, can cause blood glucose levels to elevate in people that are diabetic. Whereas mental stress, such as domestic or financial problems could result in blood glucose levels going between low and high.

What is the blood glucose stress test?

This is a simple test that you can give yourself to rate your level of stress.

  1. Use a number from 1 to 10 or high, medium, or low.
  2. Write down your stress rating.
  3. Check your blood glucose levels for a period of two weeks.
  4. Now compare your blood glucose results to the stress rating. Does high blood glucose occur with higher levels of stress?

Reacting to stress…

Pay specific attention to your reaction to stress. The following may be some of the feelings you experience:

  • Tense
  • Anxious
  • Upset
  • Angry
  • Tired
  • Sad
  • Empty
  • Nausea
  • Back pains

Handling stress…

How we handle stress is very individualistic and based on each situation. We can either be in control or feel worse. Other people choose to handle stress by binging or by some of the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Food

But there are a variety of steps that can be taken to handle stress effectively.

  1. Breathe deeply, 5-20 minutes per day, at least once a day.
  2. Let go, lie down, and close your eyes.
  3. Loosen up.
  4. Stay active, go outdoors, and burn some energy.
  5. Get a massage.
  6. Think good thoughts. Replace bad thoughts with good ones.
  7. Talk about your problems. Confide in friends.
  8. Put it on paper. Write down what is bothering you.
  9. Try something new. Start a new craft or hobby.
  10. Get away. Get out of town on a mini-vacation.
  11. Listen to music or something soothing.
  12. Soak in a warm bath. Take a 20-30 minute bath.
  13. Say no! Get away from things you don’t need.
  14. Laugh about it.
  15. Look at nature. Get outside and take in the world around you.
  16. Eat wisely! Make sure you are getting the proper nutrients.
  17. Sleep on it. Get 7-9 hours of solid sleep.

Be sure to check out our other articles on diabetes.

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