Do you have diabetes or prediabetes and an... - Anxiety Support

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Do you have diabetes or prediabetes and anxiety?


It is a medical fact that is rarely taken into account when testing for blood glucose that anxiety can raise blood glucose levels by a significant amount. When we are anxious the body thinks it's because we're in danger and the liver releases extra glucose into the blood stream to give us extra energy for 'fight or flight'.

Not only does this falsely elevate blood glucose levels but when we are anxious it takes up to 6 times longer for our blood glucose to return to normal after a meal. That means three hours instead of 30 minutes.

Worth remembering when undergoing both the ordinary blood sugar test, the oral glucose test or Hba1c test.

27 Replies

Jeff, I didn't know that. Thank you for sharing that important bit of information.

in reply to Agora1

It was something I worked out for myself years ago and when I asked my doctor he confirmed it. I'm prediabetic so I'm blood tested every 6 months, I was very anxious last week and had my 6 monthly test and it was much higher. I spoke to my cousins wife who is a pharmacist at a big private hospital and she said "it wouldn't make much difference to the results." So I just Googled the question and up came a dozen authoratative medical sites all stating that anxiety can make a "significant" difference to glucose levels and recovery times, the latter being rather important if you're taking the before and after 2 hour oral glucose test.

Google can be used for positive helpful purposes if you know what to look for.

in reply to Jeff1943

That is interesting Jeff. I've had the nurses ask in the past when was the last time I ate something but never did the subject of anxiety come into play. Is it possible that we could be diagnosed with diabetes as a false positive because of anxiety. My maternal grandmother was diabetic and was told years ago that sometimes it skips a generation and that the grandchildren can be predisposed to diabetes. This is an important issue you brought up and I really appreciate it. :)

in reply to Jeff1943

When I was very young and had anxiety I used to take my blood sugar because I was convinced that everything that was wrong with me had NOTHING to do with anxiety.

SO symptoms would come on and BINGO I would take my blood sugar. It would be low, no would be high, then low, I would stick my poor little finger over and over to prove to myself that my symptoms ( whatever they were) had to have a physical reason.

A good friend of mine who was a physician ( and on speed dial), told me NOT to take my blood sugar over and over like that because...........wait for it..............

ANXIETY would play havoc with blood sugar and rightly so. So Jeff1943 the body knows what to do to help us out, and my note is to give you back up "documentation" that anxiety, fear, etc is what can make the blood sugar change, too. :0

Most of us are not metabolically unstable, and the "low blood sugar" scare that so many try to tell us we have, is normally not true. The icky feelings and shakiness, and sweating are just as much a part of anxiety as they are of anything else, I was told.

in reply to Indigojoe

Thanks very much for telling us that, this should be taken into account by the medical profession but isn't.


Thank you for the information! I needed this about 2 years ago when my blood sugar came back elevated. I was in the worst of my anxiety then. My cousin who is a type 1 diabetic told me that it was probably my anxiety raising my levels...she was right thank goodness.

That rather confirms it Krn210, what a pity that medical practitioners don't take anxiety into account.

The other dodgey thing about blood glucose tests is how long you should fast before the test. My doctors office say you should fast for 10 or 12 hours. But the correct time according to many bona fide sites like the U.K. NHS site state 8 hours. The thing is for many people glucose levels start to rise after 8 hours as the liver starts to release glucose because you haven't eaten and it thinks you need the energy. So by 10 or 12 hours you're going to get a false high reading.

I hate to think how many people have been falsely diagnosed with diabetes because they were anxious at the blood test or were told to fast for 12 hours.

in reply to Jeff1943

I completely agree! My gynecologist is the one that ordered the test and was going to immediately put me on meds. I disagreed and asked if I should consult my gp. She said no, that she could handle it. However; I sought out my gp and his advice. He never mentioned anxiety but said that meds at 110 was a horrid idea. So I talked with my cousin, began getting my anxiety more controlled and am now at normal levels. It was stressful and not a good experience.

in reply to Krn210

I also agree with the testing times that you discussed. They say to fast 8-10 hours here (US). I too researched and thought what the heck, waiting 10+ hours is not going to be beneficial. May as well eat beforehand. Actually my last draw, I did eat beforehand (my doc said it was ok) and my sugar was 114. That was after having a bowl of cereal for breakfast 😏. My prior readings were 110 and 111, both of those were fast draws with panic attack’s prior to the draws.


Thank you for the info i had no idea

Thanks for the post, Jeff1943. I completely believe it. I was diagnosed as having prediabetes when in the throws of one of the most stressful and anxiety ridden times in my life. I didn't change anything about my diet, but began going to see a therapist and taking medication to treat my anxiety and depression. Every since it's been under control (for the most part anyway), my blood glucose levels have stayed in normal range and A1C levels have been at 4.5.

in reply to Lm92

That's good confirmation, Lm92, many thanks.

So what is the solution? Anxeity is VERY difficult to control. It's a fight I fight everyday. It's exhausting. I'm on medication n counseling. I definatly taken into account my health. All I can do is do the best I can.

All we can do as far as the diabetes is concerned is to remind our doctors that anxiety has probably given us a false high reading of glucose level if we're diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.

Gosh Jeff, didn't think about that, that could happen? I don't know if I told I my doctor? She's not easy to talk too? Seems like she wants to be right? When I tell her something she said? She said she didn't ? So Iam looking for a doctor who'll listen. Well thanks for your support

It's important to have a doctor whom we can have confidence in and is approachable. Good luck in your search!

It is a probable fact that every diabetic individual would, after time, go about regulating how they test, how they eat and how they manage their medication. My routine is to test my blood glucose as soon as I wake then inject 54 units of Lantus as a background medication. Following that, I wait an hour to allow the Lantus to do its work and then test again. Following that, I inject 35 units of Humulin S ten minutes before eating. After the ten minutes, I eat breakfast. The Humulin S is a faster acting insulin so the time factor is important. I also use metformin, a gram a day, and gliclazide. I suffer from general anxiety disorder (GAD) and take pregabalin for that and I also have a schizoid affective disorder for which I take quetiapine together with antiparkinsons and nitrazepam and all my medications I take at a regulated time factor. It is important to wait 90 minutes after eating before testing again. Any other time factor, earlier, would give a false reading because the insulin will not have had time to work. Anxiety does affect the blood glucose level but if the routine is adopted as I've written above then it becomes, in physical blood glucose level measuring, negligible.

in reply to jrcnpg

firstly i would like to congratulate you on such a stick regime.

Your drug regime is right on.

Anxiety is part of our normal body's response to our daily living activities.

Our Adrenalin and Cortisol production changes second by second in response to our body's demands and this is very normal.

The best value to determine our true average BSL is the HbA1C .

This is our average over a 2 to 3 months range and should take care of the little fluctuations in our sugar levels due to anxiety.

I always adjust my meds according to my HBA1C .

Good luck to all.


in reply to kyoom

Kyoom and jrcnpg, the Hba1c is indeed a better indicator of blood glucose but from my studies anxiety can have a 'significant' effect on blood glucose levels and if we have been experiencing high levels of anxiety for most of the day over the previous 2 or 3 months I think it would have more than a negligable effect on Hba1c levels too. However no tests that I know of have quantified how much anxiety elevates blood glucose as anxiety is a difficult thing to measure scientifically, all they say is a 'significant' level.

Thanks for that information Jrcnpg.

Could that contribute to liver damage as well?

Only just seen your comment, I've never heard anything to say that anxiety can harm your liver, only a bottle of wine a day for life can do that☺

Well I definitely don’t drink. Yuck! I have a blood clot to my liver. I’m pretty sure that’s my only problem but my levels are now elevating out of the blue so I was just curious. I may have to get a biopsy. Not sure yet. I am going to tell my GI doctor about my anxiety. I also now am borderline diabetic. My doctor knows how much anxiety I have though.

Liver function levels can jump up and down for all sorts of reasons like having an infection. It's only if the rises are consistent that it may be a problem.

This has been an informative thread. I was told about a year and a half ago I was prediabetic 6.3. I wanted to see if I could work it out on my own without medication. I am tested every 3 months and it’s always been lower each time. The last being 5.4. It makes sense anxiety can elevate it for many reasons. Sometimes I binge eat everything in sight to occupy myself or try and calm down. I can totally see that.

Yes, it's not only blood pressure that goes up with anxiety it's blood glucose levels too. And also Thyroid TSH readings are affected by anxiety too. If your last glucose reading was 5.4 you've nothing to worry about, the 6.3 might have been due to anxiety.

I believe that the HbA1c blood test that gives an average over the previous 2 months is considered more significant than the simple fasting blood test.

I think cutting down on concentrated carbohydrates helps keep blood sugar low, by that I mean bread and pasta even wholegrain. We all love bread but it's a highly processed food that didn't occur in the human diet until 4000 years ago.

Yes. I grew up on carbs. Pasta, bread, and sweets. I drastically reduced my carb intake. I didn’t fully eliminate them but significantly lowered them.

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