Stress Causes Diabetes
While there are several factors that contribute to the development of diabetes, stress is an important one.
This is how:
Type 2 Diabetes:
About 95% of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes, which occurs due to
a process in the body called insulin resistance.
Stress is a major cause for insulin resistance. Obesity is
another important culprit for insulin resistance. Stress through
Stress Eating plays the main underlying cause for obesity. In this
way, stress significantly contributes to a person’s obesity and risk for
Insulin resistance is a process in the body which causes insulin, a
chemical in your body, to be less effective in keeping your blood sugar
normal. Consequently, your body produces more insulin in order to keep
your blood sugar normal. This compensatory increase in the amount of
insulin may control your blood sugar for a while, but it’s harmful for
the rest of the body. Large amounts of insulin can raise your blood
pressure and increase your risk for cancer. Insulin
resistance also increases your risk for heart attacks and
After many years of escalating insulin resistance, eventually your insulin producing cells in the pancreas get exhausted and cannot churn out the huge amounts of insulin needed to keep your blood sugar normal. At this point, your blood sugar starts to rise and you end up being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Type I diabetes is the other type of diabetes. It is much less common,
accounting for about 5% of diabetics. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune
disease in which your dysfunctional immune system starts to
attack and kill your own insulin producing cells. Eventually your
pancreas is unable to produce any insulin and you become diabetic. As I
mentioned earlier, stress is a major reason for the dysfunction of your
immune system. To learn more about diabetes, please refer to my book, “Take
Charge of Your Diabetes.”
Stress Worsens Diabetes.
Many diabetics know that their blood glucose gets elevated when they are
under stress, even though their eating habits didn’t change at all.
They also know that with the release of stress, their elevated
blood glucose comes down.
Over the years, I have seen many such examples. I vividly remember one
The gentleman was a highly successful businessman who was struggling to
keep his blood glucose levels down. Then he went on a vacation to his
native homeland in a rural setting. When he came back from vacation, he
came to see me. “Doc, you’ve been telling me about the effects of stress
on diabetes. You are absolutely right. During my vacation, my blood
glucose readings were perfect for the first time. Now that I’m back at
work, my blood glucose levels are going up again.” He was genuinely
excited to see for himself the strong relationship between stress and
high blood glucose levels.
Even subtle stress can elevate your blood glucose levels. For example,
some diabetics get so preoccupied by their blood glucose readings that
they stress themselves out. As a result, their blood glucose reading
starts to escalate. Then they get more stressed out and a vicious cycle
I remember one lady who was always preoccupied with her blood glucose
readings. During one visit, I told her to stop checking her blood
glucose. Two months later, her diabetes was under better control, as
evidenced by her blood test report from the laboratory. She was
These examples clearly demonstrate the negative impact of stress on diabetes.
This is excerpt from Dr. Zaidi 's latest book, "Stress Cure Now" which
can help you manage stress without taking drugs?
This article was written by Sarfraz Zaidi, MD, FACE. Dr. Zaidi specializes in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Dr. Zaidi is a former assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Director of the Jamila Diabetes and Endocrine Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California.
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