The Saturday Share #2
Dr. Oz—yeah the Dr. Oz—recently stated that we are living in a “renaissance of medical knowledge.” He’s seen that patients have the desire to understand their illnesses and their bodies in a way like never before, and they’re turning to the internet for that knowledge. Dr. Oz was both thrilled and concerned; thrilled that patients have a new thirst for knowledge, but concerned that sometimes the information they find is just plain wrong.
So he created a unique one-stop shop for medical knowledge called Sharecare. Dr. Oz has assembled an awe-inspiring collection of world famous medical experts, who are tasked with answering a multitude of health and wellness questions posted by people who want to understand their health better. The quality of the content is controlled both by limiting who can create it, and by providing multiple points of view.
Are you sitting down? Among these Experts is… drum roll… me.
Yeah. I can hardly believe it myself, but three times a week, I troll the site reviewing diabetes questions, diabetes medication questions, and diabetes gear questions. When I find a question that needs my touch, I answer it. Sometimes I’m the first one to answer it, sometimes I’m only one of many Experts to chime in.
And every once in a while I find other types of questions that I know about. Access to care. Stuff about cholesterol. Health politics and policy.
I’m having a blast, and I’ve decided that every week I’m going to share one of my favorite questions with you here.
Sharecare Question: Can stress affect my blood glucose levels?
My “Expert” answer: It was easier back in the days when we were cave-people. Imagine that you are walking along, gathering nuts and berries when all of the sudden a saber tooth tiger jumps out of the bushes.
What would you do? Right. Scream and run like @#$%!
And that's what the little organs on top of your kidneys are for. They let you run faster (hopefully) than the hungry cat. They are called your adrenal glands and they pump a hormone called adrenaline into your blood giving you a momentary boost in energy, speed, and strength. It’s your body’s turbocharger for getting out of danger.
So stress, in this case fear, causes this boost of sugar-like hormone. Back in cave-people days when something caused a blast of adrenaline, you most likely used it up right away, so it did no harm to your body.
Now, the problem these days, is that we have no saber tooth cats to stress us out, arguably a mixed blessing. But today’s stressors are not things you can run away from. Dropped cell phone calls. Traffic jams. A letter from the I.R.S. Any of these things, and a great many more, will cause stress, and that will lead to an adrenaline release, which will raise your blood sugar so that you can run away. Except you can’t run away from these things, so often your blood sugar will stay high for long periods of time.
If you are really stressed out, your sugar may be elevated all of the time. So what can you do about it? Well, if moving to Aruba and living on the beach forever is not an option, any of the following may be: exercise is often a great stress reliever, and helps work off the adrenaline to boot. If you work in a stressful environment, give yourself some sort of personal ritual at the end of the day to leave the stress at the office. Depending on your diabetes medication, an increase may off-set the elevations in sugar caused by stress. You can discuss that with your doctor.
But, and this is important, stress affects more than just your blood sugar. It can raise your blood pressure. It can affect your muscles and bones. It can affect your friendships and loved ones. So high blood sugar is just one of the negative impacts of stress. Stress, like any other illness, needs to be treated before it makes you sick.
You can check out other Expert’s answers to this question, and my answers to many more questions by going here:
Then select the “Answers” tab near the top left.