Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia Affects Mental Health
Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Could your anxiety and inability to cope with stress be due to your blood sugar levels? You do not have to be diabetic to monitor your blood sugar levels. We should monitor our blood sugar levels regularly for three months every two to three years, even if we are not diabetic, to ensure that our pancreas works well.
Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia
Hyperglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels are too high, and when it is chronically high, they develop diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disease with far-reaching health effects.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that starts in childhood. Here, the body's immune system attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin or produces too little. Thus, diabetics and pre-diabetic patients often have high blood sugar levels in their bodies.
In Type 2 diabetes, insufficient insulin is released into the bloodstream, or the insulin cannot be used properly by the body. Type-2 diabetes is a progressive disease, meaning that it happens over time. In Type 2 diabetics, the pancreas develops problems releasing insulin, and eventually, this form of diabetes will also make it harder for your cells to use insulin, leading to what is called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who are overweight or obese.
Diabetics need to test their sugar levels daily. But pricking the side of your fingertip with the lancet several times a day can be painful, or injecting yourself with insulin before meals can be tedious after some time.
To reduce the monitoring stress, at 360 Wellness Hub, we use continuous glucometers with sensors to help patients monitor their sugar levels without pricking themselves multiple times daily.
Different types of diabetes
Besides Type 1 and 2 diabetes, pregnant women can also get diabetes. That’s called gestational diabetes. You may also have heard of prediabetes and insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes (though it’s not too late to stop that from happening through lifestyle change).
In both types of diabetes, blood sugar rises. High blood sugar for a long time can damage blood vessels and organs like your eyes, heart, and kidneys. Because your body can't use glucose properly for energy, diabetes can make you feel very tired.
Why is insulin important?
We need insulin to live. Without insulin, sugar in the form of glucose builds up in the blood because it cannot be taken out of the blood and used by the body. Your pancreas makes insulin and releases it into the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone that helps to control your body's blood sugar level and metabolism. Metabolism is the process that turns the food you eat into energy. Without insulin, your body will not have the energy to function properly.
What is the function of insulin?
After you eat, your intestines break down carbohydrates from food into glucose, a type of sugar. That glucose goes into your bloodstream, raising your blood sugar level.
Your pancreas is an organ that sits just behind your stomach. It releases insulin to control the level of glucose in your blood.
Your body makes and releases insulin in a feedback loop based on your blood sugar level. At its most basic level, it’s similar to your home's heating and cooling system, which releases cool or warm air as the temperatures rise or fall.
High blood sugar stimulates clusters of special cells, called beta cells, in your pancreas to release insulin. The more glucose you have in your blood, the more insulin your pancreas releases.
Insulin helps move glucose into cells. Your cells use glucose for energy. Your body stores extra sugar in your liver, muscles, and fat cells.
Once glucose moves into your cells, your blood sugar level returns to normal.
Low blood sugar prompts a different cluster of cells in your pancreas to release another hormone called glucagon.
Glucagon makes your liver break down the stored sugar, known as glycogen, and release it into your bloodstream. Insulin and glucagon alternate their release throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels steady.
Why it is essential to monitor our blood sugar levels?
Diabetic or not, it is important for everyone to monitor their blood sugar levels once they pass the age of 35. Low blood sugar levels can be as dangerous as high blood sugar levels if it is not treated quickly.
Common symptoms of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia
Feeling tired easily
Shortness of breath
Weakness and Fatigue
Feeling shaky or trembling
Fast or pounding heartbeats
Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
Easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
How is blood sugar connected to mental health?
Changes in blood sugar can cause rapid changes in mood and other mental symptoms such as fatigue, trouble thinking clearly, and anxiety. Having diabetes can cause a condition called diabetes distress which shares some traits of stress, depression and anxiety.
Also, there are two little-known but common effects of diabetes: irrational behaviour and mental confusion. Research has shown that diabetes impacts not only physical and mental health but behavioural health as well.
Although the development of psychosis with hyperglycemia is rarely reported, research indicates that it is possible that the same factors that contribute to hyperglycemia also contribute to the development of psychosis.
Many patients who suffer from anxiety and illness related to anxiety and insomnia or overthinking mindset often suffers from low blood sugar. Similar to those who have autoimmune issues. When it comes to mental and psychological help, early detection and the start of treatment are so important, especially with metabolic disorders.
Does stress affect blood sugar levels?
Stress can affect both hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic individuals. Both physical and emotional stress can impact blood sugar and make it unpredictable. It is common for people with diabetes to experience a rise in their blood sugar when they are stressed. But those with Type 1 can also experience lower blood sugar levels when stressed.
During stressful situations, epinephrine (adrenaline), glucagon, growth hormone and cortisol play a role in blood sugar levels. Stressful situations include infections, serious illness or significant emotional stress. When stressed, the body prepares itself by ensuring enough sugar or energy is readily available.
Why is my blood sugar high in the mornings?
The "dawn phenomenon" is when blood sugar spikes in the morning when the person wakes up and before meals. In the early hours of the morning, hormones, including cortisol and growth hormone, signal the liver to boost the production of glucose, which provides energy that helps you wake up. This triggers beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin to keep blood glucose levels in check. When our circadian clock is not in synch, this triggering of the beta cells in the pancreas (i.e. the body's way of waking us up) may lead to a bad night's sleep. This commonly happens when we experience jetlag.
In summary, early detection and monitoring of blood glucose levels is an important part of keeping yourself healthy regardless of whether you are at risk or have no risk of diabetes. Hypoglycemic conditions are often not considered, and they should be since it is as dangerous as hyperglycemic. 360 Wellness Hub uses Abbott's continuous monitoring glucometer to gather data to help their patients. #diabetes #hyperglycemic #hypoglycemic