Q:

Does extreme exertion or stress contribute to rapid lowering of blood sugar levels?

A:

Quick Answer

Stress triggers a bodily phenomena known as the fight-or-flight response, which increases blood glucose levels, as noted by the American Diabetes Association. The stress can be either physical or mental, and it impacts the level of insulin in the blood.

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Full Answer

Stress can impact blood glucose levels either directly or indirectly, explains the American Diabetes Association. Certain hormones, such as epinephrine and cortisol, are responsible for regulating blood sugar, notes WebMD. When under stress, a person's hormones behave abnormally and cause a direct spike in blood sugar levels. Indirectly, a person under a stressful situation may partake in unhealthy activities such as excess drinking. These activities have an adverse impact on glucose regulation and can cause an increase in blood sugar.

Diabetics are at greater risk of experiencing blood sugar spikes when feeling stressed, according to WebMD. Type 1 diabetics have a relative lack of insulin in their body, whereas Type 2 diabetics have a complete lack of insulin. Therefore, when experiencing stressful situations, the body is unable to self-regulate insulin levels, and certain medications are required. In addition to prescription medications, therapeutic solutions are available. For example, a stressed patient can take on yoga, progressive relaxation therapy or cognitive behavior therapy, states WebMD.

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