Islets of Hope  for persons with prediabetes

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Therapies for Diabetes

Chiropractic Care
Biofeedback, Meditation
    & Prayer
Herbals & Natural Remedies
Vitamins and Supplements
Stress Management
Diabetes "Cures"

Psychological Stress May Induce Diabetes-Related Autoimmunity in InfancyResearchers at the University of Linköping in Sweden, in a study published in the February issue of "Diabetes Care," have found that children who developed type 1 diabetes were more likely to have parents or belong to a family with high stress levels. Over 4,000 children under the age of 1 were studied. Type 1 diabetes is triggered by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors but the exact causes of the condition are as yet unknown.  Excerpt posted on, February 17, 2005.  

Meditation & Diabetes

Meditation may be an effective complementary therapy for persons with diabetes.  Stress plays an important part in blood glucose level, how we eat, sleep, and even on our mood -- all important aspects to master for optimal diabetes management.

Meditation is synonymous with awareness.  Whatever you do with awareness could be considered meditation in its purest form. The word meditation, is derived from two Latin words meditari, meaning "to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind," and mederi ("to heal") and the Sanskrit word medha means "wisdom." The origins of meditation intended for it to be a way of life and to define a state of mind free of scattered thoughts and certain patterns.  The person meditating comes to the place that "all the activity of the mind is one."

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How Can Yoga Benefit a Person With Diabetes?

Yoga is believed to calm the nervous system and balance the body, mind, and spirit. It is thought by its practitioners to prevent specific diseases and maladies by keeping the energy meridians (see acupuncture) open and life energy (qi) flowing. Yoga is usually performed in classes, sessions are conducted at least once a week and for approximately 45 minutes.

Yoga has been used to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve coordination, flexibility, concentration, sleep, and digestion. It has also been used as supplementary therapy for such diverse conditions as cancer, diabetes, asthma, AIDS.  (See CDC Advance Data Report #343 under "Sources" in our sidebar.), and irritable bowel syndrome (Van Vorous, 2001).

You can usually find yoga classes at the YMCA, private gyms, and through county-sponsored local programs.

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diabetes healthy lifestyle diet exercise sports stress management                                     main Diabetes Lifestyles page
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Stress Management for Diabetes
and Associated Chronic Illnesses

diabetes burnout  William H. Polonsky
Diabetes Burnout:
 Diabetes Burnout is an interactive book that addresses the emotional issues that contribute to poor glycemic control and provides guidance to overcoming the barriers to good self-care. Worksheets help readers assess their current state of motivation and establish a successful plan of action.

Mini Site Index
Diabetes and stress
Stress management techniques 

Diabetes and stress

Living with a chronic illness can be a challenge.  The nature of disease itself places stress on the mind and body, and the care and coping with diabetes are another source of stress.  Different people react to stress in different ways.  Some simply "roll with the punches" and are able to cope better than others while others find dealing with the day-to-day management and problems of diabetes more than they can handle alone.  But everyone can benefit from incorporating stress management into an overall healthy lifestyle.

Stress management can increase energy and focus, reduce the risk of depression, and help control stress hormones that are detrimental to anyone -- especially to those with diabetes.  Stress can contribute to hyperglycemia in diabetes so it is important to have some understanding of how stress can affect your need and response to insulin. Talk with your doctor if you are having trouble managing your blood glucose levels during times of stress.

Many things can trigger a stress reaction (release of hormones), including danger, feeling threatened, news, illness, as well as significant changes in one's life such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or other major event.  Just the rigors involved in diabetes care can also be a source of stress.  Worrying about blood glucose, balancing insulin with food and activity, are constantly on the minds of those with diabetes.

Stress management techniques

Stress is a person's physiological response to an external stimulus that triggers the "fight-or-flight" reaction (the release of stress hormones, and physical changes in the body including increase heart rate).  Stress management encompasses many techniques that help a person to develop coping skills  for dealing with physiological and psychological stress. Coping skills can be learned to deal more effectively with traumatic events, day-to-day living, and a chronic illness including diabetes.  The important thing to remember is that stress management techniques are personal.  That is, you need to find what works for you.  Whether it is meditation, counseling to learn coping skills, daily exercise, or even learning new life skills for better organization, we can all benefit from finding ways to release stress and be more relaxed.

Why bother with stress managment?  When it comes to diabetes and stress management, several factors are important considerations:

  • Studies show that persons who cope well take a stronger role in self-care, including the management of blood glucose levels and lifestyle habits.
  • People who have good coping skills and handle stress well, are less likely to suffer from depression and eating disorders. 
  • Stress hormones have a rapid and often dramatic impact blood glucose levels and be a major contributor to hyperglycemia.

Techniques of stress management include(1):

  • self-understanding (e.g. self-identification as a Type A or as a Type B personality)
  • self-management (e.g. becoming better-organized)
  • time management (learning to say "no" and how to prioritize responsibilities and activities
  • conflict resolution
  • positive attitude
  • self-talk
  • Autogenic training
  • breathing
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • diet
  • rest
  • Stress balls

Some techniques of time management may help a person to control stress. For example:

  • becoming more organized and reducing the generation of clutter
  • setting priorities can help reduce anxiety
  • using a "to do" list of tasks that a person needs to complete can give a person a sense of control and accomplishment

Effective stress management involves learning to set limits and to say "no" to some demands that others make.

Related information

T'ai Chi Ch'uan
Benefits of exercise to people with diabetes
Eating disorders

Reference Source


Important Medical Disclaimer

Material on this site is intended for your informational purposes only and should not be used for self- diagnosis or self-treatment. The IOH strongly recommends you seek the advice of a competent medical professional for diagnosis and treatment options, or before making any changes to your diabetes care plan.

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Page Updated 03/10/2006