Diabetes Distress: The Hidden Struggle of Diabetic Patients


Oct 2022

2 min read
Diabetes Distress

Table of content

Do you know what diabetes distress is and how it affects our lives? Nowadays diabetes is the most common health issue. According to WHO nearly 415 million people worldwide are suffering from diabetes. So, let’s learn about diabetes distress which is more common in people with diabetes.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a simple word a metabolism disease in which the glucose level in our blood is higher than normal. Actually, it occurs when our pancreas isn’t able to produce insulin which results in high blood sugar levels. As we know, cells use insulin which is the hormone made in the pancreas to convert blood glucose into energy. Likewise, when our pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or stops making insulin glucose can’t enter the cells of the body and it remains in our bloodstream in excessive amounts resulting in diabetes. 

What Are the Different Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is basically of three parts based on the existing symptoms and conditions.

  • Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the body stops making insulin, people have to take insulin for survival. In this, our immune system destroys the cells of pancreas which make insulin as a result of which diabetes occurs. 
  • Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin and extra sugar builds in your bloodstream. Meanwhile, there are various studies showed that type 2 diabetes is more common among people, more than 95% of people have type 2 diabetes. 
  • Furthermore, there is a prediabetes stage in which the level of blood sugar is higher than normal but not enough to be in the category of type 2 diabetes. In fact, it is basically the stage before type 2 diabetes.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes usually depend on how high your blood sugar level is. And it is diagnosed in two parts i.e., at the time of fasting and after 2 hours of lunch. Its normal range when fasting is 80-100 mg/dl. When it goes higher than 120 mg/dl it is diagnosed as diabetes. The normal range of tests after 2 hours of lunch is 130-160 mg/dl and when it goes higher than 180 mg/dl it is diagnosed as diabetes.

Most common symptoms of Diabetes which are:

  • Feeling thirst and hunger more than usual
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling of fatigue and weakness 
  • Weight loss
  • Slow healing of wounds and cuts
  • Unclear vision 

As we know diabetes is a lifestyle disease which requires proper management. People find this difficult to follow such lifestyle that leads to diabetes distress.

What Is Meant by Diabetes Distress?

Diabetes distress means stress due to diabetes. It requires a proper and strict self-care routine. In addition, it is all about managing and taking care of daily routines such as exercise, taking medicine and insulin, consuming healthy diets, monitoring blood sugar levels, avoiding sweets, etc.

According to the studies 33% to 50% of people have diabetes distress. It is a long-term complication and when people get tired of dealing with diabetes it leads to unhealthy habits which results in diabetes distress. 

What Causes Diabetes Distress?

Diabetes distress occurs when people become overwhelmed. Patients mostly get frustrated by taking daily care of their diabetes, following the same routine every day like taking daily doses of medicine and insulin, avoiding unhealthy foods, and engaging in physical activity.

Here are some major causes of this distress:

  • Taking Too Much Stress 

Stress plays a very important role in increasing diabetes distress because it increases the level of cortisol hormone which increases your blood sugar level. In accordance with it can lead to many diabetes complications as well. 

  • Not Taking Proper Diet

Diet plays an important role in one’s life, it makes an individual mentally and physically healthy. By taking a proper diet one can be saved from many lifestyle diseases like diabetes, thyroid, PCOD etc. If you are not mentally strong you will find difficulty in managing these lifestyle diseases which can lead to stress.

  • Bad Sleeping Pattern

By taking proper sleep of 7-8 hours, you can keep yourself stress free. A sound sleep helps you to reduce level of cortisol hormone which is generally called stress hormone. For instance, if you do not take proper sleep, it can increase your stress level which can further lead to diabetes distress.

  • Lack of Physical Activity

Physical activity is the best stress reliever. Daily physical exercise you can keep yourself healthy, but lack of physical activity can decrease the level of serotonin and dopamine which result in mental health issues.

The main reason for diabetes distress is when an individual is not able to follow the proper lifestyle and is not able to maintain his daily self-care routine. However, now you have known the leading causes of diabetes distress we will move toward it’s the symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes Distress?

Diabetes distress is not the same as anxiety or depression symptoms. It is just an emotional response to living with diabetes and facing difficulty in managing it. 

Symptoms of diabetes distress include:

  • Feeling frustrated of managing diabetes
  • Fear of anything bad will happen if doesn’t able to do proper care of diabetes
  • Skipping doctors’ appointments or medicine
  • Eating unhealthy foods
  • Not checking glucose level 
  • Feeling of exhaustion from following a self-care routine.
  • Isolating oneself from social support.
  • Avoiding physical activity

Now let’s learn about how to cope up with it.

How To Prevent Diabetes Distress?

Diabetes Distress can be difficult to manage because it is an emotional reaction you face when you are ongoing with diabetes. Let’s learn some tips which can help you overcome this distress:

Prevent Diabetes Distress
  • Talk to Your Loved One: Firstly, share your feelings to your close one you can get emotional support and can feel light by which you can manage your diabetes well without any stress.  
  • Talk to Other Diabetes Patients: By talking to other people who are also ongoing from diabetes it can ease your stress. As you get to know that there are a lot of people who are ongoing with the same problem. Start communicating with other patients. It will help you in managing your condition.
  • Being Aware of Your Feelings: Almost every person at one time felt frustrated by taking daily care of diabetes. But by getting conscious about your thoughts, emotions, and feeling one can know about their challenges as well. Thus, by overcoming these emotional reactions, you can manage your distress.
  • Seek Help from Health Care Providers: Whenever you feel such issues try to talk to your sibling or friends. Even you can take help from your health provider. It will help you to manage your negative thoughts.
  • Do One Thing at a Time: Indulging in one thing at a time will helps you manage your things more properly. By planning to do a particular thing you can easily manage your diabetes health care.
  • Engage in Activities that Make You Happy: Doing things you enjoy can make you happier and calm you down. Also, giving yourself a break and doing what makes you happy is the best way to relieve stress, as it increases your dopamine levels and makes you feel better and motivated.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. Is Diabetes Distress A Mental Illness?

Ans Diabetes distress is not a mental illness. It is a term provided by researchers as an emotional response to diabetic patients. This is because diabetes is a chronic disease that requires self-management and daily care, people become overwhelmed by doing things like doing physical activities, checking their blood sugar levels, etc. 

Q. Is Diabetes Distress And Diabetes Burnout The Same? 

Ans Diabetes burnout is the stage when you become frustrated and exhausted from fulfilling demands for managing your diabetes which makes it difficult to follow a daily care routine. On the other hand, diabetes distress is an emotional reaction in which people feel the powerlessness of managing diabetes. Hence excessiveness of distress can lead to diabetes burnout.

Q. How Can You Treat Diabetic Distress?

Ans Talk to your close ones about your feelings and also getting professional helps really works.

Q. What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetic Distress?

  • Ans A few symptoms could be :
  • Nervousness, shaking, anxiety, sweating, and headache.

Q. What Is A Diabetic Coma?

Ans. It is a severe health condition that occurs due to high and low blood pressure to type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients.

Bottom Line

Diabetes distress is a unique experience for each individual as it affects your mental and physical health because it leads to an imbalance of a person’s emotional state which makes it hard to follow the proper style which is necessary for maintaining diabetes. Also, one of the techniques one can follow to overcome diabetes distress is to keep yourself mentally calm, take a proper diet, sleep well and get to know about your feelings. 

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Your search to find the right guidance for any disorder and healthy lifestyle ends here. So, contact us if you are looking for a psychologist or mind coach. Also, we will discuss how we can help you to lead a stress-free and happy life.


This blog is for information purposes only. If you find any of the above symptoms, please contact mental health professionals. Even you can book a consultation with Fitelo to start a healthy journey.

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