I’ve been suffering from crippling social anxiety for the past two years, accompanied by frequent panic attacks. Sometimes after a particularly severe attack, or just when I’m super anxious about something (like speaking in front of a group), I’ve noticed that my blood sugar will spike and become harder to bring down, almost like when I’m sick. Of course, seeing that double up arrow on my Dexcom app only serves to stress me out more * sigh *
I thought I remembered hearing that adrenaline can sometimes cause a spike in bg… does anyone know if there’s a connection there? Any tips for how to avoid it?
I have a relative that gets panic attacks. Some things can help, maybe see your physician for full assistance, but there are medications, relaxation/visualization exercises etc.
Hi Abby @bookwormnerd13, I’ll try to provide some thoughts to your questions.
Most definitely YES, in my experience adrenaline can cause a BGL spike, sometimes very significant. As an example, I’ll offer my recent experience prior to surgery at 11 AM where I hadn’t eaten for 14 hours. I had kept my pump running at 100% and following a very brief walk into the surgery center I had to administer a small bolus correction, as the excitement - hence adrenaline - intensified with the insertions of IV and other nursing stuff I needed yet another bolus before the anesthesiologist pulled the trigger. Prior to the surgery date, I had validated my pump settings by simulating the day by not eating and not taking any bolus and my BG remained steady without corrections.
Can you avoid anxiety attacks? Probably NO. But you can do much to [I hate this word] control the impact. One way is to avoid such situations - which is probably not possible and is impracticable. The other, which I practice, is to manage your emotions by anticipating yourself in certain circumstances and trying to be more comfortable with yourself - at one point I’d never dare speak in public so I put myself in a position, a “job” where I had to be before a crowd and deliver. Now put a mic in front of me and then try to shut me up - in my professional life a large “countdown” digital counter had to be displayed in the front row directly in front of me.
Adrenaline, nerves, anxiety, and EVERYTHING else can absolutely effect your blood sugar. It’s just the nature of the beast. I am a singer, and will frequently get nervous before a performance, which can cause a spike to my BG, and some symptoms of a high BG can be really difficult for singing, like dry mouth, fatigue, etc. My point being, I totally hear and feel your frustration.
I would consider seeing a therapist, if you’re not already, about the anxiety. Talking to a professional can be immensely helpful. There are even therapists out there who specialize in patients with chronic diseases, so you can look around online or talk to your endocrinologist about finding someone who may be a good fit.
Keep at it! Good on you for posting here and looking for help
Hi there bookwormnerd13
I don’t have to reply when Dennis does because he’s wrestled this beast for as long as I have , but to throw my 2 cents in, ANY stress, whether it is illness or anxiety or sitting in a traffic jam, will send your bs up.
My trick involves setting a temporary bolus for 2 to 2.5 hours at 10 or 20% (so 110% or 120%) and testing every hour with a quick response snack by my side. You may find a lower increased rate (say 105%) for a longer time frame (like 4 hours) is better. Don’t be afraid to experiment, just understand the risks and stay prepared for anything.
This also works well when I’ve gone overboard on a plate of fries or a bag of chips.
Best luck and good health -
Hi Nancy @nannimae the insight, suggestions, recommendations you offer are really valuable; thanks for being so generous with your time and talent for sharing so clearly.
Thanks too for the compliment - between us and several other members here we can offer the many faces of diabetes.
The above information is great but I want to add that there are several possible adrenaline / kidney complications of diabetes that could be affecting you. I urge you to get an appointment with your Endo to discuss. Once a physical problem is ruled out then all other coping and therapy strategies come into play. Good luck.
I get the same thing. Does anyone know scientifically why stress brings up your BG?
Answering Milly’s question, the reason that stress brings up our bg is that we all have the inherent trait known as the “flight or fight syndrome”. This is the body’s response distress which was a good thing when our ancestors might find a saber tooth tiger attacking them. All they could do was try to fight it or run as fast as possible away from it, either of which requires a LOT of energy, so adrenylin and glycogen are released to supply it for a very short time, after which the glycogen needs to be replaced before the next emergency. That’s why we tend to have a decreasing sine wave in our glucose charts after such events, first up then down, then up then down etc until it settles out after about 2 days. At least that happened before glucose meters and CGMs.