Type II Diabetes and Chronic Stress
Our modern day lifestyle has seen a sharp rise in Type II diabetes. Yes, it is true, Type II diabetes is related to lifestyle, but we don’t need to blame ourselves. Instead, let’s learn more about underlying causes and shift our awareness from being a victim to being empowered.
When the body can’t use insulin properly, the blood sugar levels increase and the result is diabetes.
Difference between Type I and Type II Diabetes
Type I diabetes is a genetic condition and is often manifested in the early age. In this type the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas therefore it cannot produce insulin. The symptoms often occur fast and the person must take insulin to keep the blood sugar under control.
In Type II diabetes the body is simply unable to produce enough insulin or the insulin doesn’t function properly. It can be managed with medication diet and exercise and other life style changes. It appears more slowly and therefore it is easier to miss.
Let’s take a look at the journey that body takes when our lifestyle makes it vulnerable to diseases such as Type II diabetes. Our body is intelligent and has an innate ability to heal itself and self-regulate if we tune into this highly sophisticated soft technology. When all the organs and systems are in coherence then there is equilibrium and when this coherence is lost the diseases appear.
One of the main glands responsible for creating a balanced environment is the pancreas.
When the pancreas,( the gland responsible for secretion of Insulin), can’t make enough of this hormone or when the Insulin that’s secreted does not function properly, the levels of blood glucose increase. Proper amount and functioning of Insulin is important for fueling the body by entering the cells.
Pancreas doesn’t act alone in the body. The entire endocrine system which includes glands such as Adrenal, Hypothalamus, Pineal, etc work together as a team to create balance. In this article I will focus on only a few glands and their hormones and their connection : Adrenal, Hypothalamus, and Pancreas.
Before looking into glands and hormones, keep in mind that there are many tools available to manage type II diabetes. Nutrition and Exercise alongside prescribed medications are a few steps that can be taken towards managing it.
However, in this article I would like to emphasize one very important and often overlooked culprit, Chronic Emotional Stress.
Adrenal glands and their function
These are a pair of small glands that sit on top of the kidneys. But don’t be fooled by their size. The hormones secreted by these glands are responsible for a number of important tasks such as:
Maintaining the blood pressure
Responding to stress
Regulating immune system
Adrenal glands in turn are regulated by Hypothalamus and Pituitary glands. Hypothalamus receives messages from the brain and nerve cells and it is responsible for creating a stable state and internal balance in the body.
When we are under stress, (physical and/or emotional), the followings happen:
Body needs to prepare itself to respond to the stress
It will need access to more sugar or energy in preparation for this response
Therefore, this reach out for more sugar and energy drops the insulin levels that allows cells in muscles, fats and liver to draw glucose from blood
Glucagon, ( the hormone that stimulates glucose production in the liver) increases.
Adrenaline (Epinephrine), a hormone that causes the contraction of blood vessels so the blood will be redirected to major muscle groups such as lung and heart, prepares the body for fight or flight .
This will cause the air pathways to major muscle groups to dilate so more oxygen will reach them via redirected blood flow.
Production of growth hormones( secreted by the pituitary gland) that are needed for healthy muscles will rise.
Cortisol ( the hormone responsible to increase glucose in bloodstream and curbing any activity that is non-essential at the time of stress such as, relaxation and sleep) will be elevated
The increase of growth hormones and cortisol levels causes the muscles and fats in the body to become less sensitive to insulin
The result is more glucose in the blood sugar.
Looking at the series of domino effects resulting from stress shows us that chronic stress can change our physiology and push the body towards incoherence and cascade of different diseases including type II diabetes.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage our daily stresses in healthy ways.
Below are a few tools amongst many that are simple and effective, however, we need to pick a couple of them that resonate with us and make them a part of our daily routine. It is possible to switch from one method to another depending on our inner state and circumstances.
5-Guided or unguided meditation sessions (even 10-15 minutes a day can be very effective)
Remember, these tools are only complementary to your physician’s treatment protocol and we strongly recommend that before taking on any complementary modality, please consult your doctor.
At Personal Best, we thrive on helping our community with offering some of these tools.
For more information please contact us.
Sara Namazi, DHMHS