Sugar Matters
March 10, 2015
When diabetes gets more complicated

To follow up on our talk about diabetes and stress, I want to touch on some aspects of diabetes that can get worse when you are under a great deal of stress.

Remember that the stress can come from a number of different sources: we think of work and family life as a stress, but also include major stresses like other illness or surgery. There are some you may not think about like travelling or taking tests at school.{{more}}

In general, for many people, blood sugars will go up and get more variable (bouncing all over the place) when they are stressed. Different parts of your body can experience changes during these times when sugars are extra high and/or bouncing.

YOUR EYES: you may notice that it becomes harder to see, vision gets blurry. This is a common complaint from folks when their sugars get very high. In many cases, this will improve when your sugars come back down to normal and stabilize, but the longer it goes on the more likely you will have permanent damage to your eyes.

YOUR FEET AND HANDS: diabetic neuropathy gets worse when sugars are out of control. You might notice more burning or pain in your feet and hands when this happens. For some people this is permanent and even when sugars later improve the pain remains. But if caught early, some, if not all, of the painful neuropathy can be reversed or at least improve.

SKIN CONDITIONS: when sugars are high, it becomes much easier to have skin infections, sores/cuts that don’t heal, thin skin. I have had patients tell me that their skin was the first giveaway that their sugars were not doing well, because they were not even checking their fingersticks at the time.

For some other people, their heart conditions become worse, shortness of breath or even chest pain. Men pay attention: erectile dysfunction gets worse as your sugars get and stay out of control. Concentration gets worse. A lot of things happen when you are stressed and if you have diabetes, it multiplies.

Throughout all of this, the goal is to get your sugars better managed, even if you know the source of the stress is temporary. Yes, it will improve after test time is over, but do you really want to let your sugars run high for days anyway? No—take steps now to get them better controlled so less damage is done. It DOES make a difference.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227