If you have been reading my articles lately you may have noticed a couple of things:
- I do not refer to type 2 diabetes as a “disease” but rather as a condition, and
- I may not write about this condition as others do.
There is a reason for these things, of course.
For one, in my opinion, a condition can be reversed, but not a disease. They say that a disease can be cured, but often, it goes into remission, only to re-emerge at some point. Of course, a condition can go into remission, as well. Some would say that when type 2 diabetes is reversed that it is actually in remission, too and will re-emerge.
I disagree. But I am not a healthcare professional. I am someone who struggles with the condition of type 2 diabetes. I believe that gives me some ability to speak knowledgeably about it.
Today, however, we are going to talk about stress and the condition and why it makes it difficult to treat and how it affects someone with diabetes.
Most of us are familiar with stress, but just in case you don’t know what it is, here is the definition from the Merriam Webster Dictionary: a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.
“May be a factor in disease causation.” Did you notice that? Stress may be a factor in disease causation. The same could be said of conditions.
Stress isn’t always bad in small doses, but prolonged stress can be very bad indeed.
According to verywellmind.com, “‘Good stress,’ or what psychologists refer to as ‘eustress,’ is the type of stress we feel when we are excited. Our pulse quickens and our hormones surge, but there is no threat or fear. We feel this type of stress when we ride a roller coaster, compete for a promotion, or go on a first date. There are many triggers for this good stress, and it keeps us feeling alive and excited about life.”
This type of stress would not be the disease causing sort.
The stress we are talking about, is the kind that lasts. The kind that begins to cause physical changes as well as emotional ones.
Cortisol is a name that is often familiar to those who are overweight or diabetic.
According to WebMD.com, we should “think of cortisol as nature’s built-in alarm system. It’s your body’s main stress hormone. It works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear…It’s best known for helping fuel your body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ instinct in a crisis, but cortisol plays an important role in a number of things your body does. For example, it:
- Manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
- Keeps inflammation down
- Regulates your blood pressure
- Increases your blood sugar (glucose)
- Controls your sleep/wake cycle
- Boosts energy so you can handle stress and restores balance afterward.”
This is important to know. Because too much Cortisol is linked to weight gain and conditions like diabetes.
The following information was gleaned from the same WebMD article.
Cortisol is an important and necessary part of our lives. However, if we have too much stress, our Cortisol level might not go back down to where it should be.
When that happens, “it can derail” our body’s “most important functions!”
The article identifies these health care problems as just a start of what can occur:
- Anxiety and depression
- Heart disease
- Memory and concentration problems
- Problems with digestion
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight gain
Also, too much Cortisol can lead to rapid weight gain, easily bruised skin, muscle weakness, diabetes and a whole host of other health (both physical and mental) problems.
How to better deal with stress?
Let’s face it, we live in a stress-inducing world and it is up to us to deal with our stress levels. Everyone is dealing with stress. We have the stress of dealing with the worldwide pandemic. We have the financial stress this has brought about. We have stress coming at us from all sides. Building up a strong defense can help us avoid some negative effects of stress.
And please, don’t tell me you don’t have time to do some of these things because getting sick takes a lot more time and costs a lot more money that doing a few things now to help get or remain healthy!
The following are from an article on healthline.com. The article was written by written by Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD on August 28, 2018, but the solutions remain relevant. I am only listing the 16 ways that Jennings suggest. If you want to read the entire article, you may click the link above.
- Consider supplements
- Light a candle
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Write it down (gratitude journal)
- Chew gum
- Spend time with friends and family
- Learn to say “no”
- Learn to avoid procrastination
- Take a yoga class
- Practice mindfulness
- Listen to soothing music
- Deep breathing
- Spend time with your pet
These are some great ways to relieve stress. The pandemic has made some of them a bit harder to do, but my favorite one is to spend time with my pets. They can relieve stress like nothing else can!
Until next time, be good to yourself and to others!
I will be listing my food/exercise journal later.
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About the author
Karin Nauber is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 25 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has nine grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 12 years ago and has faced many challenges with the disease. If you would like to contact her, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.