Patient Blogs | Type 2 Diabetes
Are Roller-Coaster Blood Sugar Levels Affecting Your Mood?
photo of woman checking blood glucose

Have you been irritable lately?  You know, a bit touchy or testy.  Annoyed, agitated, even a little angry? (OK, enough with the alliteration.)

If your answer is “yes,” do you know why?

It might be the kids who are at home and bored on summer break. Perhaps your vacation plans got scratched by canceled or delayed airline flights. Maybe it’s a domestic issue: Your husband did a terrible job washing last night’s dinner dishes and you had to redo them this morning. Or your sweet pup dug out every one of your newly planted perennials. 

Or, if you have type 2 diabetes, your blood sugars are on a wild, crazy, roller-coaster ride.

Did you know that mood disorders and fluctuating blood sugars sometimes go hand-in-hand? That what’s making you hit an emotional wall might not be frustration over dirty dishes or upended daisies but your glycemic load signaling an SOS to your brain?

Blood sugars, it turns out, don’t only impact your body, but also your moods. Ups and downs can mirror mental health symptoms, like anxiety, worry, and irritability.

This makes sense since your brain primarily runs on glucose.

And yet, during a mood meltdown, blood sugars may be the last place we look.

At least that’s true for me. And I think I know why.

When I find myself overwhelmed by irritability and anxiety, my normal self-care practices to combat stress -- tracking my blood sugars, meditating, and eating a balanced diet – are the first to jump ship. When anxiety hits, I find myself reaching for the cookie jar.

Take this year. Since December, my husband had two hospital admissions: one for a stent, and the second for back surgery. My youngest suffered a broken nose, and his girlfriend had a miscarriage. My sister had a mini-stroke while eating dinner at our dining room table.

Divided between work and caretaking, I was soon a nervous wreck.  Worrying about everyone I loved at the same time plunged me into high anxiety. By day’s end, my mind raced with real and invented fears. To comfort myself, I turned to potato chips and cookies, treats that I felt I deserved.

But anyone who knows type 2 understands those extra helpings of high carbs plus high stress equal blood sugar mayhem, which translates into excess fatigue and irritability.

I promised to get back on track when things calmed down. But then my son and his girlfriend contracted a bad case of COVID-19, followed in my son’s case by tonsillitis. And it was about then that I realized that waiting for the world to stop moving and for everyone in my life to be OK wasn’t a realistic plan.

While I couldn’t fix everything wrong, I could fix myself.

It wasn’t easy getting back to my type 2 care. It never is. Yet as everyone around me began to heal, I did too. With more sleep, better food choices, a return to exercise, and careful monitoring of my sugars, my mood improved, as did the numbers on my monitor and the scale.

With less anxiety, things didn’t appear so bleak. The better care I gave myself, the greater calm I was able to bring to dealing with a full plate.

What’s the lesson? Everyone gets irritable, angry, and overwhelmed at times. Life is not always under our control. But if you have type 2 diabetes, be aware that high and low sugars can impact your moods. 

The next time you feel moody or broody, check your sugars. You might be surprised.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: BakiBG / E+ via Getty Images

Tell us what you think of this post?
0 Like
0 Sad
0 Cheered up
0 Empowered
0 Care
WebMD Patient Blog © 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Ilene Raymond Rush

Ilene Raymond Rush

Diagnosed since 1984

Ilene Raymond Rush is an award-winning health and science freelance writer. Based on her own experiences with type 2 diabetes, she brings a personal take and a reporter’s eye to examine the best and newest methods of treating and controlling the disease.

Latest Blog Posts From Ilene Raymond Rush

Conversation Chit-Chat: When I Offer Advice About Type 2 Diabetes

Conversation Chit-Chat: When I Offer Advice About Type 2 Diabetes

Last week, I was crossing Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia when I noticed a large man toting a bag of burgers and fries limping beside me ....

Read more
How I Track My High and Low Blood Sugar Levels

How I Track My High and Low Blood Sugar Levels

Last week, my sugars went a little crazy. I’d start the day in range, but after breakfast and my usual cardio or strength training exercise ...

Read more