In our study of 869 patients who went through our program at twenty two different sites throughout the United States, the amount of time people spent practicing stress-management techniques was directly correlated with their blood glucose level (as measured by hemoglobin A1C). In other words, the stress-management techniques helped reverse their diabetes. Other studies have confirmed this finding.
For example, a study at Duke University Medical Center reported that patients with type 2 diabetes who incorporated stress-management techniques into their routine care significantly reduced their average blood glucose levels. According to Richard Surwit, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a medical psychologist at Duke, "The change is nearly as large as you would expect to see from some diabetes-control drugs."
Put another way, for some patients this may be the difference between needing to be on diabetes drugs for the rest of their lives or being off them altogether. According to Surwit, the effect cannot be explained by changes in body mass index, diet, or exercise because the two groups did not differ in these variables during the year they were followed. "Managing stress can significantly improve a patient’s control of their diabetes," he said.
In another study, investigators studied 506 diabetic patients at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. They found that those who were depressed and stressed had higher hemoglobin A1C levels, lower exercise levels, and higher intakes of saturated fat and calories. This is consistent with what I described in chapter 2 of the book The Spectrum, the importance of addressing the deeper issues that underlie our behaviors. Also, chronically high levels of stress hormones may cause your blood sugar to rise.
Another study found that in women who were not diabetic at the beginning of the study, those who reported feeling depressed, had a lot of stressful life events, or frequently felt intensely angry, tense, or stressed were much more likely to develop diabetes and metabolic syndrome over the subsequent fifteen years -- in some cases, more than double the risk.
In our study of 869 patients who went through our program at twenty
two different sites throughout the United States, the amount of
time people spent practicing stress-management techniques was
directly correlated with their blood glucose level (as... More