Nearly 30 million Americans are living with
, and another 86 million are at risk for developing Type 2.
Those diagnosed with
Type 2 diabetes are confronted with a major lifestyle change that prompts an overhaul
of not only the way they eat, but the way they live.
Diabetes management can be a numbers game and a balancing act to stay healthy,
and sometimes it can feel overwhelming, frustrating and isolating.
Diabetes can be stressful for the body and mind in which handling the day-to-day
stresses of the disease can put those living with diabetes at risk for
About 20% of people living with chronic illness will experience bouts of
depression, and this holds true for about 11% of diabetics.
This can position diabetics in a dangerous cycle: Frustration in managing
diabetes can trigger
depression, and depression can make it difficult to effectively manage diabetes.
Depression can prompt stress eating for some, while others might experience
loss of appetite — both of which are detrimental to controlling
blood sugar levels. In many cases, depression is a condition that develops
over time — an accumulation of unresolved issues and chronic tension.
Loss of motivation and changes in sleep patterns also can hinder the healthy
management of diabetes.
Despite these challenges, patients can take control through education and
self-care. There are various tools to reduce stress and possibly ward
off depression such as engaging in relaxation exercises, joining a support
group, exploring new hobbies and taking several moments throughout the
day to find ways to ease stress can help lower a patient's risk for
Even those who might feel they live fairly stress-free lives can benefit
from making anxiety-reducing practices part of a daily routine. Practice
setting boundaries and communicating feelings. Make a daily investment
into learning how to cope with the stress of diabetes can help patients
realize healthier lives.
ANA PIMENTEL is a case manager and social worker with the
Hoag Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center.
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