Anxiety is a normal part of life for everyone. Symptoms of anxiety can include general feelings of worry, apprehensive expectation, feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and sleep disturbance. Physical reactions can include racing heartbeat, sweating, muscle tension, flushed cheeks, and light-headedness.
Anxiety is also common among people with diabetes. Stress can disturb blood glucose control because the body’s release of stress hormones also produces extra glucose. When people with diabetes are stressed, the production of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol increases. In those without diabetes, these hormones help the body's stress response by prompting the liver to release more glucose for additional energy. However, for people with diabetes this raise in blood glucose levels can be problematic.
Three common anxieties that affect people with diabetes are:
- Fear of blood glucose monitoring.
- Fear of hypoglycemic reactions (low blood glucose).
- Fear of long-term complications.