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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stress and Blood Glucose Levels.

Stress, like blood glucose spikes, has an insidious effect on the body. I am not qualified to go into the biological aspects of stress, but over the past three weeks I have certainly been forcibly made aware of the physical and mental consequences.

I have also been reminded that I have not cured my diabetes over the past decade; at best I have maintained good control. Control which can swiftly degrade under stress.

I post my story partly as an explanation to the people on various forums who may have wondered at my absence over the past month, and also as an example to others undergoing stress to reassure you that you are not alone, we all experience our own personal tragedies and stresses. I am not looking for sympathy, I have already received a great deal of support. My intention is to show that this can happen to anyone. If your numbers are rising when under stress, the cause is not always poor diet or inadequate medications. Resolving or dealing with the causes of the stress are just as important.

To set the scene, my usual fasting blood glucose over the past few years has been in the range 5.5(100) to 6.5(117). I suffer from Dawn Phenomenon so I am reasonably happy with that. My A1c has been in the low 6% range. In contrast, for the past two weeks I have not seen a fasting blood glucose under 7.5(135) and if my A1c was tested right now I doubt it would be under 7%.

Physical stress.

Three weeks ago I was cooking sausages on the barbecue raising money for our local Neighbourhood Centre, something I have done twice a month for several years. After cooking several hundred sausages I had to empty the hot drained fat container and carelessly spilt some on my hand, mainly my right index finger. The doctor said it was second and possibly third degree burns. That placed my system under some stress as it slowly healed; I took the final bandages off yesterday, but I am still applying ointments. At least I can type with two fingers again. I noticed that my fasting numbers immediately rose about a mmol (18mg/dl) – and stayed up.

Financial stress.

Just before I burned my hand I arranged tradesmen to renovate my bathroom. Plumber, carpenter, tiler etc. I am an experienced home handyman so the budget was based on doing most of the preparation work – removing old tiles, shower screens, cabinets etc – myself. Suddenly all that had to be done at tradesmen's rates. The budget has blown out.

Personal stress.

About three years ago my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer. Over the next couple of years he underwent chemo but made the wise decision to spend as much time as he could travelling with his family and enjoying life between chemo sessions. He did not change his bright, happy character at all.

Three days after I burned my hand my brother's wife rang to say we needed to go to the hospital, two hours away. When we arrived it became clear he would not be leaving hospital alive. We stayed for a couple of days, then returned home. On return we received an email that one of my wife's best friends had died in hospital, also from cancer.

Four days later my brother's pain left him. Two days later we attended my wife's friend's funeral. Two days ago we went to my brother's funeral. Some time during that period we discovered that the bathroom renovation required more extensive work than we first realised. It didn't really seem that important now.

This morning my fasting blood glucose was over 8(144). However, my bandages are off, I will continue to grieve but the worst is over, and today is a new day. In reviewing the past few weeks I realise that I also let my usual dietary regimen slip. Not surprising, but that is something I can change.

It's time for me to begin again, testing, testing..

I know that there will be people reading this who are going through situations far worse than mine. I hope that my story helps a little by letting you know you are not alone.

Cheers, Alan, T2, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter 


Pdilly said...

I know it's been 3 years since your brother died but I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am. I lost my sister in June 2013 to cancer so I know what that feels like.....

Alan said...

Thank you for your understanding comment Pdilly.