It seems diabetes and anger may go hand-in-hand. Dealing with diabetes can make people feel angry and anger may result in blood sugar elevations. Discover why anger and stewing can mess with your diabetes.

Anger Related to Diabetes

From the initial diagnosis to ongoing self-management, some people are angry about having to deal with diabetes daily. Diabetes must be treated indefinitely since there is no specific cure. The goal is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels. This can be a challenge that makes people feel “angry at the disease” and the steps it takes to treat it. Their current lifestyle may need dramatic changes that require a lot of hard work, focus and time. Others feel threatened due to the potential complications and anger is a defense mechanism. It is important to learn how to recognize your anger and use it to help improve your diabetes care.

Diabetes Care is Necessary

Ongoing diabetes care is necessary to live a healthy life and help reduce the risk of related health problems. Anger can lead to failure to take proper care of your diabetes resulting in heightened blood sugars. Take time to determine what makes you angry and when you feel that way. Keep notes about your feelings and look for patterns. For example, if you get angry before going to parties because you need to avoid sugary, rich foods, discover new and healthier ones to substitute. Hopefully your angry feelings prior to social situations will dissipate when you have something positive to look forward to. This will ultimately help control your blood sugars.

Figure Out What Fuels Your Anger

Once you are angry, these feelings can become more intense until you are stewing for hours. Learn to look for the warning signs that your anger is getting deeper. You might start talking louder, turn red and feel uptight inside. Focus on your feelings, slow down, breathe deeply, and get a drink of water. Stand and pace to dissipate some energy. Close your eyes and think of a pleasant scene. Count to ten. These simple actions may help you take charge of your feelings and regain a sense of control over your anger and overall well-being.

Try to Benefit from Your Anger

Maintain an anger journal and read it periodically to learn more about your feelings. Does diabetes make you want to avoid others? Some people feel self-conscious about having diabetes and it makes them angry. Try to share details about diabetes with your friends, family, and co-workers so they understand your food restrictions and how they can help during emergencies. Work with a diabetes health care team to get control of the disease. This team may include a treating physician, dentist, diabetes nurse educator, dietitian, cardiologist, ophthalmologist, and therapist. Learn more about diabetes by joining a class, support or self-help group. If your feelings of anger persist make an appointment with a counselor or therapist. Ask your doctor about anger-management programs. Learn how to use your anger to help you improve your physical and mental health.

Take Steps to Calm Down

Controlling your health and talking to others may help you reduce anger. Take other steps to help you calm down and regain control. Persistent anger may lead to more heart attacks and strokes. People with diabetes are already at an increased risk of heart disease as well as feelings of anxiety and depression. Stewing can heighten these risks. Learn meditation and breathing techniques. Try a fitness class to burn off excess energy. Attend a relaxing therapeutic class such as yoga or Tai chi that may minimize stress. Exercise and sharing feelings may help you learn how to gain control over your feelings. Take a walk, go swimming, and engage in physical activities you enjoy. Focus on ways to reduce rage before it takes hold of you and increases your blood sugars and blood pressure. Anger raises hormone levels such as cortisol which may also increase your weight.

Anger and Blood Glucose Regulation

Studies have shown a link between diabetes and anger leading to problems with blood glucose regulation. The hormones that regulate the glucose levels in your blood are the same ones that regulate stress levels that lead to emotions such as rage and depression. When your anger elevates, it over stimulates the hormones that affect blood sugar levels. Use a blood sugar meter to keep track of your blood glucose levels. Note when they are high or low to see how anger is impacting your blood sugar levels .This can encourage you to learn how to better control these feelings. The latest research indicates changes in blood glucose levels can affect your mood. This is referred to as “glycemic variability”. Without taking control of your feelings and health it may become an unhealthy cycle.

Highs and Lows

Mood swings can also be related to high and low blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can make you combative, irritable and slur your words. These are physiological conditions resulting from your brain being deprived of glucose. This has a negative impact on your cognitive function. Discuss your medication and insulin dosage with your doctor. Eat balanced meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. Have glucose tablets handy in case your blood glucose drops. High blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia, may also cause mood changes. You may feel grumpy and unfocused. Keep track of extreme highs and lows and report them to your doctor. Your self-management routine may need a few changes.

Anger, stewing, and poor blood sugar control can lead to serious health issues and diabetes complications. Learning ways to cope with anger and maintain healthy blood glucose levels makes a difference. With the right approach, you will feel happier and healthier for years to come!