According to the latest reports released by the World Health Organization, over 250 million people across the world are suffering from Diabetes Mellitus and other complications related to the various types of diabetes. Most diabetic patients have to deal with multiple health problems along with the control and management of this chronic disease.
Peripheral vascular disease, coronary heart disease, neuropathy, retinopathy, high blood pressure, skin problems, hypertension and nephropathy are some of the allied issues that have to be tackled along with tight control over the blood sugar levels.
The Association of Stress With Diabetes
The risk of further complications in the diabetic patient is greatly enhanced if it is accompanied with emotional or mental stress. Chronic emotional stress leads to depression which is one of the primary symptoms in the advanced stages of Type II Diabetes. According to recent studies, general emotional stress, depression, anxiety, hostility, sleeping disorders and anger are all connected with the increased risks of diabetic complications.
The association of work related stress, childhood neglect, traumatic life events and other factors that cause stress with diabetes, are also being researched on. The doubled risk of the development of co-morbid depression, which can adversely hamper the lives of the patients, has to be understood and proper steps should be taken to reduce the risks of the same.
The primary preventive measures of diabetes, lay a lot of emphasis and importance to the reduction of stress levels in the patients through relaxation techniques, positive thinking, lifestyle management and certain anti depressants and relaxants.
What is Stress?
The word “stress” is being increasingly used in the fields of biological, psychological and medical sciences. In layman’s term, stress is defined as the non specific reaction or response of the body to any external demand. The stressor or the stimulant triggers off the three stages of alarm, resistance and exhaustion until the body adapts to the stress levels generated in system.
In the contemporary times, stress is connected to the consequences of the failure of an individual to perform a certain task or responds to certain physical or emotional bindings. Stress usually affects the patient at the emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physical levels. The symptoms of stress include poor judgment, negative cognitions, poor concentration, low self esteem, moodiness, feeling of anxiety and depression, agitation, irritability, feeling of being neglected, loneliness, aches, pains, dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat and increased palpitation among a number of other tell tale signs. Stress may cause sleep disorders and other negative consequences that adversely affect the diabetic patients.
Causes of Stress and Its Reduction for Diabetes Prevention
Anxiety and Depression
The risk of diabetes is increased by approximately 37 percent with depression and anxiety. For prevention of the advanced complications of diabetes due to depression and increased levels of anxiety, it is important to encourage the patient to try out various activities and relaxation techniques. The alertness of the mind and the body to external stimuli, thoughts and other events, goes a long way in reducing depression in such patients.
Nowadays, there are various workshops that conduct sessions to help the patients tackle their depressive feelings. Family members and colleagues of the patient should try to give their maximum support and help create a happy and congenial environment at home and workplace. Meditation and relaxation techniques are being propagated through various spiritual and community gatherings and attending these sessions regularly can generate an active and relaxed state of the mind.
Traumas and Life Events that Cause Stress
The incidence of traumatic life events, increases the risk of diabetes in patients by over 1.6 folds. People in their middle ages find it difficult to accept situations and move on in a positive manner. The inability to deal with traumatic events such as death, financial loss, separation, etc can lead to metabolic disorders.
It is important to enroll the individual in certain counseling classes that can help in stress release and influencing the patient in accepting the situation in real terms. The diverting of the mind and thought processes towards more constructive issues and positive thinking patterns also helps in dealing with such life events that causes stress.
General Emotional Stress, Hostility and Anger
The long term effects of general emotional stress, hostility and anger include changes in the normal health patterns along with increased risks of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Giving up smoking and other adverse health related behaviors can help in reducing the risks of diabetes due to these causes of stress.
The insulin resistance in diabetic patients can be reduced by decreasing stress through physical activity, positive thinking and anger management and control. It is important for family members and associates to help the patient deal with various situations that may trigger off irritability and emotional stress. Prevention of diabetes is dependent on the mental health and stability of the patient in a big way and all the positive steps should be taken in the right direction for the reduction of stress.
Over commitment to work, long hours in the work place, constant interaction with equipments and work related environment can cause a 4 fold increase in the development of diabetes ,The imbalance of work –reward also leads to a sense of underachievement and failure that triggers off stress in the mind of the diabetic patient.
It is important to ration the work hours, take up the flexibility options such as telecommuting and working from home, restrict stress related to work by involving the patient in other outdoor and physical activities, encourage social meetings and involvement in lighter conversations, to prevent the risks of diabetes.
It is important for the family members to appreciate and acknowledge the work efforts and help the patient understand the draw breaks of taking undue work stress. Unwinding at the end of the day with light and relaxing activities, helps in the proper regulation of metabolic activities and prevents further complications in the diabetic patients.
Sleep disorders and insomnia can lead to emotional stress that can cause complications in diabetic patients. The quality and duration of sleep can be improved by improving the sleep environment, regulating the timing and content of meals, practicing light meditation and relaxation techniques, taking natural products that encourage sleep, listening to music, etc. A minimum of 7-8 hours of proper sleep is very important for maintaining the blood sugar levels and avoiding diabetic complications.
It is important to understand the existence of the negative co relation between excessive stress and diabetes. An increased awareness about the same will help in taking positive steps for the prevention of the disease.