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Turn Stress to Serenity This Holiday Season – Sharon Spear, registered dietician and certified diabetes educator, December 14, 2011

dhooper 18:42:47:
Hi everyone.
lconn 18:52:00:
Is stress more harmful for people with diabetes?
Sharon@Unity 19:01:26:
Welcome to the Unity Diabetes Online Community! I’m Sharon Spear. I’m so glad you could join us for our latest online chat today.
Today I will share some advice on managing diabetes and holiday stress and answer as many of your questions as possible during our allotted time together.
RULES
Before we get started let me just tell you how we’ll address your questions and comments today. I answer questions one at a time, in the order that they are posted to the site, and there might be a slight delay as I respond to each question. It may take a few minutes for me to type answers to your questions, so please stay logged-in to the chat to see my response, even if it takes a few minutes. And you might need to refresh every few minutes to keep up with the latest posts in the chat if you switch to another application on your computer. Let’s get started!
Sharon@Unity 19:03:34:
Hello lconn, yes, when your blood sugar rises stress hormones get released and raise your blood sugar.
Sharon@Unity 19:04:45:
These hormones are your flight and fight mechanisms.
kdf 19:05:10:
How can I tell if it's stress that's making my BGs go up?
Sharon@Unity 19:06:46:
Well kdf, many things can raise your blood sugar, such as stress, illness and food. It would be wise to test your blood sugars more often during this time.
lucyblue 19:07:03:
is there any way to avoid stress raising blood sugars?
Avenger 19:08:32:
I think exercise is a good way to lower stress. Walking always works for me.
Sharon@Unity 19:10:03:
Exercise, yoga or even taking a walk can lower your blood sugar and relieve some stress.
lucyblue 19:10:19:
Well that's helpful to know. Sometimes I get excited/happy and that's not stress but I'm high energy – will that make my blood sugars go up too? Or just "bad" stress?
kdf 19:11:29:
I've found that taking even a quick walk within an hour of eating can help lower my readings – does anyone else find that too?
Sharon@Unity 19:11:46:
High energy is good lucyblue, it will help your blood sugars stay stable.
lucyblue 19:12:06:
Great – thanks.
janet 19:12:43:
What about menopause? Will that change my blood sugar levels?
Avenger 19:12:55:
Exercise in general does seem to lower my blood sugar.
lconn 19:13:12:
Good question, lucyblue, I am wondering the same thing!
Sharon@Unity 19:13:41:
Oh yes Janet, the hormones can make your blood sugar rise.
lconn 19:14:00:
Does drinking more water help too?
Avenger 19:14:04:
Janet I believe that hormones do affect blood sugars.
janet 19:14:10:
What can I do about that?
Sharon@Unity 19:15:11:
Check your blood sugars more often, eat a healthy diet and exercise.
kdf 19:15:13:
To Avenger – just curious – do you exercise every day or just a few days a week? What kinds of things do you do? I find it so hard to get into a routine.
janet 19:16:55:
My father was a diabetic and I am told that the oldest female sibling will most likely get diabetes as well, is that true?
Avenger 19:16:56:
@kdf I try to do some type of activity daily – bike, walk, or the gym usually 30 -40 min.
kdf 19:18:10:
Avenger – great idea to mix it up and do something different every few days – I'm going to try that.
Sharon@Unity 19:18:26:
Diabetes can run in families, but not sure of the oldest sibling, does anyone else know that question?
Avenger 19:18:30:
Wow Janet I have never heard that before but I do know type 2 diabetes is hereditary.
lucyblue 19:18:54:
Yes, @kdf I find when I do exercise I enjoy I do it more often.
Avenger 19:19:53:
Anyone have any suggestions for dealing with the relatives during the holidays.
kdf 19:20:33:
I have a question about blood pressure – how is high blood sugar connected to high blood pressure? Can that be the result of stress too?
lconn 19:20:42:
Hotel rooms for out of town guests!
lucyblue 19:20:43:
Oh good question – my family often stresses me out.
Sharon@Unity 19:22:21:
High blood pressure can rise during stress and blood sugars also, they both can be damaging to the blood vessels.
janet 19:22:22:
I was told by my Dr. to reduce my "CATS": caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and sweets" to help my blood sugar...is that true?
lucyblue 19:22:25:
Seriously, I find if I try to take care of myself – maybe take the dog for a walk or plan to take some time away with my husband or daughters, it helps break up being in the house all day with family dynamics that can get hard to deal with.
Avenger 19:22:30:
I have to entertain for a large group of people and I never can enjoy the day. Between cooking and trying to please everyone, it is very stressful.
kdf 19:22:41:
I always feel pressure to serve my out-of-town guests foods that I normally would not cook/serve – so my eating habits go out the window!
dhooper 19:23:12:
I have an Irish and German family heritage. NEVER any stress when we get together! HaHa.
Avenger 19:24:37:
That glass of wine before they all arrive does seem to take the edge off!
lucyblue 19:24:54:
I like doing potluck dinners with family/friend get together to share some of the work of preparing the meal – then I can enjoy it more in the moment.
lconn 19:24:54:
I totally understand the stress of entertaining. Can you fix dishes that you can prepare mainly ahead of time to try to lighten the load on the actual day with guests? Also, letting some of the more complicated things go can be helpful too.
Sharon@Unity 19:25:04:
Janet, caffeine can impair your body's ability to handle sugar and increase the amount of stress hormones which may increase blood sugar.
Avenger 19:26:01:
@Lucyblue that sounds like a good idea. Thanks.
lucyblue 19:26:44:
I thought caffeine was OK for diabetics?
Sharon@Unity 19:28:35:
Family dinners, favorite recipes are all part of the holiday traditions, try to add some salads, seasonal fruits and vegetables to your meals, and for the wine drinkers, have wine with food.
Sharon@Unity 19:29:27:
Oh yes lucyblue, coffee is good in moderation.
kdf 19:29:52:
I know we need to limit wine, but what about mixed drinks? Do they have higher # of carbs than wine?
lucyblue 19:29:53:
The hardest thing for me is that we just seem to eat all day – hard to manage my blood sugars.
Avenger 19:31:12:
I know what you mean lucyblue. Seeing all that food and knowing I should not be eating it makes me stressed. Especially the sweets.
Sharon@Unity 19:31:38:
When having a mixed drink use sugar free mixers to keep the carbs at bay. Women generally can have one drink a day and men 2, but to be safe check with your MD.
kdf 19:32:32:
I didn't even know they have sugar free mixers – I'll have to look for them. Has anyone else used those before?
Sharon@Unity 19:32:42:
Eating small amounts of food throughout the day is okay, just remember to walk afterwards and drink plenty of water.
kdf 19:33:25:
One more question since New Year's Eve is coming up – does champagne have the same amount of carbs as wine?
Sharon@Unity 19:33:31:
Diet soda, seltzer water or light juices are a few kdf.
Sharon@Unity 19:36:15:
Champagne non-sweet, dry has 5 grams of carbs and sweet sparkling wine has 10 grams of carbs.
janet 19:37:27:
How does walking help reduce BS levels? Does your body just burn it off faster?
Avenger 19:37:33:
I read somewhere that the carbs in alcohol don't count and do not affect blood sugar. Is that true?
Sharon@Unity 19:38:58:
Here are some examples of approaches to help with overeating since we are talking about food:
Become aware of your triggers – are you bored, tired, nervous or stressed?
Eat only when you are hungry, drink a glass of water first.
Stop when you are full.
Learn more about nutrition.
Sharon@Unity 19:41:29:
Exercise helps insulin move glucose into your muscle cells to give your body energy. Do it every day for 30 minutes.
Sharon@Unity 19:43:05:
It is true alcohol is not digested like food is due to the way the liver processes it.
Sharon@Unity 19:45:00:
Alcohol can cause a low blood sugar called hypoglycemia, that is why alcohol in moderation and with food.
Sharon@Unity 19:47:46:
Here are some good resources for stress and diabetes, dlife, and the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, check out their websites. Dlife has a TV show on Sundays on CNBC.
janet 19:47:48:
Thanks Sharon@Unity. This has been very helpful. Hope to join another webinar soon!
Sharon@Unity 19:48:58:
Good night Janet thanks for joining us here at the Unity Diabetes Center.
Sharon@Unity 19:52:28:
Sometimes it is helpful to write down in a journal what your stress factor is and see if that is related to your high blood sugar, most glucose meters have this capacity to make note.
Sharon@Unity 19:54:46:
Well we have about a few minutes to chat, any questions or comments?
lucyblue 19:55:45:
i like the idea of tracking stress level – I think I will try that and see if I notice any correlation with my blood sugars.
janet 19:56:08:
I'm back. What about depression and anxiety...does that increase BS levels?
Sharon@Unity 20:00:12:
Yes Janet stress and depression can raise your blood sugar. Here are some stress busters just for you:
Take a walk on the beach
Bubble bath
Talk to a friend
Write in a journal
and Laugh and have fun!
Sharon@Unity 20:01:38:
That’s all the time we have for today. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation and hope that I was able to provide some insight for you about stress management during the holidays. If we didn’t get to your question today or if you think of another question later on – feel free to jump into the conversation in the Forum, or submit a question using our “Ask an expert” feature. Be sure to join us for our next chat on Wednesday, January 4 at 7 p.m. when Jane Giambrone will answer your questions about setting goals to manage your diabetes for the new year. Talk to you then!
 
 
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