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Short-Term Mental Stress Maintains Blood Sugar Levels

Are you a diabetic and in search of a good mental stress? Swiss investigators say that the blood sugar levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes stay normal when exposed to short-term mental stress. In this case, they used a roller-coaster ride to attain this short-term mental stress, and to see how it can affect blood sugar levels.

Twenty type 1 diabetic patients were asked to monitor their blood sugar levels while riding two different roller-coasters within 15 minutes. A day before the actual experiment took place, the patients’ blood pressure, heart rate and levels of salivary cortisol, a hormonal response to stress, were measured.This was to check for any difference at rest and during the stress-testing experiment.

A device from Medtronic called the MiniMed continuous glucose monitoring system, was used to monitor blood sugar concentrations in five-minute intervals. During the roller-coaster ride, half of the participants did not eat anything while the others fasted 75 minutes after they had a meal with 50 grams of carbohydrates. According to Dr. Peter Wesli of the University Hospital in Zurich, “during the rides, heart rates rose from 82 beats per minute at the start of the ride up to a maximum of 158 beats per minute. Also that the average blood pressure increased from 124/79 to 160/96 mm Hg between the two rides, and salivary cortisol concentrations increased from 6.3 to a maximum of 19.3 nanomoles per liter per 60 minutes after the ride .”

Despite the apparent mental stress, researchers conclude that there was little significant results on glucose levels for the 10 patients who fasted on the stress-testing day when compared to the rest period. As for the other 10 subjects, the sugar level in their blood merely responded to the meal they took during the control and stress-test day, and returned to normal within three hours of the meal. This was also associated with the patients’ good metabolic control over their disease.

However, the results may vary for those type 1 diabetics who have poor control over their blood sugar even when faced with short-term or chronic mental stress.

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