What about my adrenals? How do they affect my type 2 diabetes?

adrenals diabete management Mar 15, 2022

Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys. They do many different things but one thing we are focusing on now is your body’s response to stress. What is that response? The physical release of cortisol into your system.

What is cortisol? It is a survival hormone that has not adapted to our current lifestyle. Back in the day, cortisol prepared us for danger – you see a saber tooth tiger coming your way, cortisol “floods” your system to get you to run (flight), stand (fight) or freeze.

It does this by breaking down reserves of stored glucose (blood sugar), amino acids and fats and putting it all out into the blood stream so there is plenty of fuel to run or fight. It decreases digestion and other functions not immediately related to survival and increases blood to heart and muscles, prepares the rest of the body to increase breathing and focuses vision.

This is acute stress. When the event is over, the stress response is cleared up and you’re back to normal. The problem in today’s world is that there is so much continued or long term stress like work, family life, traffic, the pandemic, violence and intolerance that we don’t have a chance to recover from it.

When there is too much cortisol in your system, it contributes to anxiety and depression, headaches and heart disease. It can cause memory and concentration issues and digestive problems. It also can lead to trouble sleeping and weight gain. One of the things cortisol does in times of stress is dump glucose into the blood stream even when you haven’t eaten. This is an especially big problem in type 2 diabetes.

Stress is necessary to our lives so we will always have it but it needs to be managed.
What you can do:

  1. Take a breath. Simply stopping and focusing on your breathing can help bring you into the present moment. Things look different from here.

  2. Talk to a trusted friend about what you are feeling stressed about. I find talking it out can lead me to my next steps of dealing with what is causing me stress.

  3. Practicing yoga or Tai Chi or any similar practice will help with breathing and being in the present moment.


Dr Elaine


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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.


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