Updated: Nov 4, 2022
November is National Diabetes Month. According to the CDC, 30 million adults living in the US are diabetic and 84 million are currently pre-diabetic. Diabetes can be a challenge. Just thinking about its many potential complications can be overwhelming and cause intense anxiety.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the body mistakenly attacks cells in the pancreas that make insulin. We rely on insulin to get sugar from digested carbohydrates (glucose) into cells so they can convert it into energy or store it in the muscles, fat, and liver. The two types of diabetes are commonly known as Type 1 Diabetes when the body doesn't produce insulin and Type 2 Diabetes when the body doesn't respond to the insulin as well as it should. Type 2 can also cause the body not to make enough insulin. When the body stops producing insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream and doesn't get into the cells. This is called high blood sugar, or Hyperglycemia. This can lead to coma or even death.
Consult a doctor if you experience any of the following:
Often there are no visual symptoms indicating a person is prediabetic or diabetic. When symptoms do occur, they include excessive thirst, hunger, frequent urination, and possible enuresis (bed wetting). Other symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, and sweating. Some people may experience blurred vision, fast heart rate, headache, and sleepiness. Consult with a physician if any of these symptoms occur.
The Mind-Body Connection
Thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can affect how healthy your body is. Stress hormones make blood sugar rise or fall unpredictably and stress from being sick or injured can make blood sugar go up or down. That is why it is important to manage your physical as well as your mental health.
Simple tips to manage your overall health
Get Active-Even a quick 30-minute light to moderate walk can be calming and the effect can last for hours.
Relaxation Exercises- Meditation, Yoga, or other light exercises decrease emotional stress. Also, hormones are released that increase blood sugar levels.
Support- Call or text a friend, one that is understanding and can ease your mind
Self-care- Grab some "me time". Take a break, read a book, or watch a relaxing movie
Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Intake- A moderate amount can cause an increase in blood sugar. An excessive amount can decrease blood levels.
Eat Healthy Foods- Avoid sugar and saturated fats. This aids in achieving or maintaining healthy body weight.
Get Enough Rest- Poor sleep hygiene can cause poor circulation and blood pressure to increase. Healthy circulation is important for brain and cell repair.
If you continue to find yourself having stress or anxiety talk to your physician, or seek the assistance of a mental health provider.