Be a Blood Sugar Sleuth

Seven sneaky fac­tors that can af­fect blood sugar read­ings

Diabetic Living (USA) - - Contents - BY JES­SICA MIGALA IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS HIFUMIYO / FO­LIO ART

1. You’re bogged down by stress

Whether it’s “bad” stress (you’re un­happy in your job, your kid is strug­gling in school, or you’re car­ing for an ag­ing par­ent) or “good” stress (you’re get­ting mar­ried, mov­ing, or plan­ning a va­ca­tion), your body re­sponds in a sim­i­lar fash­ion. “Ris­ing lev­els of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol can con­trib­ute to in­sulin re­sis­tance and may also af­fect other hor­mones re­lated to blood sugar man­age­ment. The end re­sult is that there’s more sugar in the blood, and your cells are not us­ing in­sulin as well as they nor­mally would. It’s a dou­ble whammy,” ex­plains Ni­cole Bere­o­los, Ph.D., M.P.H., CDE, a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist and a Di­a­betic Liv­ing ad­vi­sor.

You can’t scrub stress out of your life com­pletely, but you can work on chang­ing how you re­spond to it. A ses­sion with a be­hav­ioral health spe­cial­ist (in­per­son or vir­tual; many are cov­ered by in­sur­ance) can help you de­velop strate­gies and cop­ing tech­niques for day­to­day stress. If you’re feel­ing over­whelmed in the mo­ment, try belly breath­ing: ex­pand your belly as you in­hale and con­tract it as you ex­hale. With reg­u­lar prac­tice, this tech­nique may help lower cor­ti­sol lev­els and lessen the neg­a­tive ef­fects of stress.

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