Research from both the experimental and clinical domains confirmed that stress is all about having little or no control over situations. It is interesting to find that stress is not all bad. In fact, stress can increase productivity up to a point at which fatigue, exhaustion, and ill health will occur rapidly. The point at which this happens is different for everyone.
Body changes during a stress reaction
When a person is stressed, there are internal reactions that happen within their body. Changes in body functions allow the person to undergo what is called the fight or flight reaction. This means the body is getting ready to fight if needed or run quickly and “get out of Dodge”.
7 Physical changes that occur during fight or flight response to stress. They are:
- The persons heart starts to beat faster
- Blood pressure goes up
- Breathing becomes quicker, allowing more oxygen to the brain and muscles
- Blood glucose level rises to give your body more energy to do whatever needs to be done
- Blood moves away from your gut and into the big muscles of your arms and legs so you can act quickly
- Blood gets ready to clot quickly should the person start to bleed
- The person become very alert so that they can think about how to deal with the threat detected.
Most times, diabetics don’t fare well with stress, as insulin may not be available for the conversion of extra glucose (sugar). It is not unusual for this to happen during and after hospitalization and at other stressful times.
There are two types of stress
- Mental Stress
- Physical Stress (injury or Illness) and Diabetes
A person’s reaction to stress may depend on the type of diabetes they have and the kind of stress that is affecting them.
- Mental stress usually raises the blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes, while it fluctuates the blood glucose level in type 1 diabetics.
- Physical stress will usually cause higher blood glucose levels in people with either type of diabetes.
It is important to test blood glucose level when stressed to see how stress affects individuals with diabetes. Diabetics should also note that domestic activities can also induce stress. Thus, experts warned on the need for diabetics to be more cautious.
When stress is extreme, distress may set in, problems such as headaches, stomach upset, chest pain and sleeping disorders can occur in addition to the increase in blood pressure and blood glucose.
Effective ways of Managing Stress:
- Avoid the stressor
- Say no to requests that will cause more stress
- Limit time spent with stressful people
- Limit situations that are stressful. Take the more scenic road instead of the highway to work.
- Avoid conversation topics that are upsetting.
- Alter the stressor
- If a person is causing the stress, try to talk to the person in a caring fashion to help change the situation.
- Change your own behavior to help or offer compromise to the situation
- Set limits on your time and tell others what work you need to get done
- Plan enough time for tasks