Research from the European Depression in Diabetes (EDID) Research Consortium have reported that general emotional stress, anxiety, sleeping problems, anger, and hostility are associated with an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. This conclusion was reached as part of a review of much of the data collected examining a possible link between stress and type 2 diabetes.
Stress and burnout are likely to give rise to type 2 diabetes because the body becomes unable to constantly regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which are constantly changing in the fight or flight response.
When a person is stressed or under extreme pressure the body responds by producing adrenaline, increasing heart rate to get oxygen more efficiently around the body and blood sugar levels are increased to fuel the brain and vital muscle groups. This process is known as the fight or flight response.
It is left to the body after such a response to restore homeostasis, a state within the body where everything is ‘ticking over’ at a normal rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels are at resting rates. If a person is constantly stressed and doesn’t allow the body to normalise and calm after a stress response (normally takes around 6 hours), they are subjecting their body to a constant internal battle between the fight or flight response and homeostasis.
Eventually it has been found to be the case, that the body is simply unable to cope, and will subsequently lose its ability to regulate blood sugar levels or heart rate. This process starts to produce symptoms of type 2 diabetes meaning blood sugar levels and heart rate need to be regulated ‘manually’, through the use of relaxation techniques, a strict diet and in some cases medication.
Relaxation techniques such as; tai chi, yoga and mindfulness meditation can aid the body in relaxing and regaining a state of homeostasis after a stress response. Kundalini yoga and art therapy have also been clinically proven to relive stress and subsequently could reduce the chances of being diagnosed with diabetes or other long term stress related health problems.