Reduced Stress, Reduced Diabetes Risk?
If you feel permanently stressed out, you're not alone. Life has become incredibly demanding for many people, and leisure time often seems virtually non-existent.
If you're a guy, the bad news is that living with chronic stress may actually increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. A 35-year study of 7,500 men found that men with permanent stress had a 45 percent higher risk of getting diabetes than men who were not stressed, according to Science Daily. The link between stress and diabetes was clear cut even after researchers adjusted for factors like age, socioeconomic status, BMI, physical inactivity, and blood pressure.
It's hardly surprising that stress may eventually cause diabetes, says Joel Zonszein, MD, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "When someone is stressed, their adrenaline goes up," he explains. "And this creates a demand for more insulin [the hormone needed for regulating metabolism and blood sugar levels; diabetes patients either don't produce enough insulin, or are unable to use it]. Stress is definitely one of the factors that can contribute to the development of both diabetes and pre-diabetes."
7 Steps to Stress Reduction
So how can a busy, stressed-out individual relax? Whether you're a man or a woman, consider the following steps:
1. Admit that you need to change. "Recognizing that you need to reduce stress is the first step in reducing it," says Monica Reynolds, MD, a cardiologist at Columbia Doctors Medical Group in White Plains, NY. "But very often, people just throw up their hands and say they can't change. You need to want to change." Before doing anything else, take that important first step and admit you have a problem with stress.
2. Learn to identify the symptoms of severe stress. For instance, if you grind your teeth; are prone to headaches; are always tired, and/or have stomach problems, stress is probably the culprit.
3. Recognize that beating stress can be harder than you might think. "You're talking about breaking lifelong habits," Reynolds says. "You're also talking about going against the grain." Since society glorifies workaholics, an individual who actually wants to slow down and do less may be seen as odd.
4. Start to eat right. Slow down, and take a moment to cut up an apple or some carrots instead of grabbing a bag of chips. Make the time to prepare healthy foods to put into your body, Reynolds recommends. Avoid junk food, and drink plenty of water, too.
5. Enlist a close friend to be your "sponsor." Talk to that person when you are feeling the urge to take on more projects and thus, more stress.
6. Make a conscious effort to relax. "Sit in a chair in a quiet place and take 10 deep breaths," Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist and author of Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions that Will Make or Break You. "Breathe in slowly, and breathe out slowly."
7. Finally, have fun! Plan to do something for sheer pleasure once a week, Christopher recommends. "Give yourself four or five hours a week to have fun. It will involve some planning ahead of time, but it's important as a way to reduce stress."
"Permanent Stress Can Cause Type 2 Diabetes in Men, Study Suggests." Science Daily.
Web. 7 February 2013. Page accessed 30 July 2013. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207114418.htm
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