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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Unholy Alliance between Stress and Diabetes


Stress is an integral part of human physiology, but it can develop in to a disorder through excess as well. People with diabetes just do not have the insulin to spare to move glucose in to cells, which is a primary requirement of the need to deal with stress.

Stress helps us meet challenges, but the tension, if acute and sustained, results in a disorder which has implication for mental health. Acute Stress Disorder is a specific condition in psychiatry, and has to be treated with a combination of medicines and counseling.

The news that you have diabetes, having to forego some of your favorite foods, the pressures to lose weight, the costs of treatment, and the chances of serious complications, all create undue stress. This is a vicious cycle, because anxiety and mental disturbance about the implications of diabetes only pushes blood glucose even higher!

Twitching, body and head aches, hyperventilation, fatigue, perspiration, difficulty swallowing and diarrhea, are some of the common physical symptoms of anxiety disorders such as acute stress. A feeling of dread, difficulty in focusing the mind, insomnia, a loss of sex drive are also possible: all this while the doses of medicines keeps rising!

A psychiatrist is the best person to help a person with diabetes break out of such a vicious alliance between the endocrine disease and the mind. Do consider asking your physician for a reference to a psychiatrist even before you develop symptoms of acute stress, so that you give your diabetes management its best shot.

Remember an understanding of diabetes, confidence in your physician’s ability to manage your condition, enjoying your new diet, test results which show that your blood glucose is under control, and regular exercise, will also keep harmful stress levels at bay!

Do write to me as well, if you would like more information and counsel.


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