Medical News Today: Diabetes and anxiety: What is the link?

a man with Diabetes and anxiety sat looking pensive on a park benchShare on Pinterest
A person’s likelihood of anxiety may increase after having several hypoglycemic episodes.

People with diabetes are responsible for managing their blood sugar levels and ensuring that these stay within a healthy range. This task can be challenging and stressful.

Doctors will ask people with diabetes to remain mindful of their blood sugar levels and to engage in routine behaviors, such as:

  • paying particular attention to food ingredients
  • avoiding certain foods
  • tracking blood sugar levels regularly throughout the day
  • timing insulin doses

Planning, checking, and being prepared for a wide range of challenges are all important for effective diabetes management. However, some people may worry excessively about their blood sugar levels or how their disease may progress. These concerns may trigger episodes of anxiety.

According to the National Library of Medicine, anxiety is “excessive worry or fear at real or imagined situations.”

The emotional challenges of living with diabetes can also trigger anxiety.

What the research says

Researchers report that anxiety affects about 40% of people with diabetes. This prevalence is much higher than that in the general U.S. population, where the condition affects 18.1% of people.

People with diabetes are at risk of developing low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia are identical to those of anxiety.

Additionally, the results of a 2015 animal study suggest that experiencing several episodes of hypoglycemia can increase the likelihood of anxiety. The reason for this may be that hypoglycemic episodes trigger chemical and metabolic changes that physically affect the part of the brain that plays a role in processing anxiety.

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