Individuals are comfort-seekers who love to indulge in the small pleasures of life and find happiness in the little things they do. We don’t feel good when our day-to-day routine is interrupted or when we have to go out of our way to fulfil some requirements. Beyond all this, when our health is disrupted, it not only affects our physical health but also brings unrest to our body. Any sort of health problems ruin our peace of mind and cause mood swings affecting not only the person involved but also others around him/her. The same holds good with diabetes, a disease that requires stringent lifestyle modifications and eating habits.
Stress is one of the risk factors for diabetes and the same could be an impact of the disease too. For instance, when someone with a sweet tooth is suddenly asked to give up on everything sugary, they are sure to become distraught. It is our feeling but in reality, let’s see whether glucose levels impact our mind and mood.
Diabetes Steals Away Mental Health Stealthily
There are times when each of the organs do their function, still the individual feels sick. That’s mainly because our body’s health is dependent on a multitude of factors including thoughts, attitude, feelings, and beliefs. The world is presently witnessing a sharp increase in depression rates and the hard fact is that people with diabetes are 2-3 times likelier to have depression compared to others. Also, the risk of poor mental health is double in case of women compared to men. We have different studies proving them too. A research study in 2020 showed that variations in mood and stress has a significant impact on blood glucose levels and glycemic variability. Another meta-analysis showed that depression is linked to hyperglycemia in diabetes and anxiety levels could be as high as 40% in those with diabetes.
Generally, scientific research has shown that hyperglycemia is linked with anger and sadness while lower blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) is linked with nervousness. We have a growing pile of evidence pointing toward the relationship between mood and blood sugar levels and haphazard glycemic levels reflect in poor mental health symptoms. Surprised? Don’t be, as our brain functions on glucose and variations in glucose bring variations in mental health.
Some of the symptoms of low blood sugar that hinders the mood of an individual include hunger nervousness, anxiety, personality changes, problems with decision making, confusion, and irritability. High blood sugar levels can induce tiredness, an unwell feeling, and difficulties in concentration.
Diabetes disrupts blood glucose levels and to keep it under control, people with the problem adapt to a disciplined lifestyle routine including a strict diet, regular physical exercise, and medications (if necessary). Hence, these might become overwhelming for the patient ruining their mental and emotional health.
A condition called as diabetes distress can sometimes affect people with diabetes. Also called as diabetes-specific distress or diabetes-related distress, this might be a result of the agony involved in managing diabetes every day. There could be days when diabetics might feel lonely, discouraged, or even tired of caring for diabetes —a feeling of the disease controlling the patient rather than the individual controlling the disease might set in. Also, during some scenarios, there are chances of being affected by some side effect of diabetes despite every action taken to keep it under control. All such scenarios are potential risk factors for developing diabetes distress. The condition might affect even those who have been managing their diabetes in good condition for decades together. It has been witnessed that during any 18-month period, almost 33-50% of individuals with diabetes suffer from diabetes distress.
Diabetes distress has the potential to affect 1 in 5 people with insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, 1 in 6 people with non-insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, and 1 in 4 people with type 1 diabetes. Some common symptoms of diabetes distress include:
Ways to Neutralize Diabetes Distress
Variations in blood glucose levels affect your mind and mood disrupting both mental and physical health. Feelings play an important role in dealing with diabetes. If you doubt that you feel lonely, anxious, stressed, or irritated, it is better to share them with your family, friends, and healthcare provider. Otherwise, diabetes can strain your relationships with the people around you. Sometimes, it has even led people onto suicidal thoughts. Let’s not take it that farther but slay the demon before things go out of hand. So, when your loved ones are a part of diabetes management and start providing support, the communication between people become better and the chances of strain reduce considerably. An increase in quality of life of the individual decreases the strain imposed on mental health thereby promoting overall health.
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Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz of First Eat Right clinic, is the Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Bangalore. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Pune. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Hyderabad. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Chennai. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Mumbai. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Delhi. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Kolkata.