Are Your Blood Sugar Levels The Cause Of Your Anxiety?

Diabetes is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about blood sugar levels — and for good reason. According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetes is a serious health condition that can cause heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, vision loss, and amputations of the lower limbs.

Your blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose levels, are the result of your body breaking down the foods that you eat and releasing glucose into the bloodstream. If the body doesn't effectively use insulin to remove glucose from the bloodstream, blood sugar levels get too high, causing the health problems seen in people with diabetes. But what does it mean if blood sugar gets too low? A low blood sugar level, known as hypoglycemia, can cause unwanted symptoms and health conditions. Hypoglycemia is measured as blood sugar levels that are below 55 mg/dL (or below 70 mg/dL in a person with diabetes), according to VeryWell Health.

Low blood sugar level symptoms may imitate anxiety symptoms

As separate health conditions, low blood sugar and anxiety share common symptoms such as nausea, sweating, panic, headaches, and shakiness. This may make it difficult to decipher which condition is the cause. However, low blood sugar levels and anxiety seem to be related by more than symptoms (via VeryWell Health).

Your body goes through similar reactions in the presence of low blood sugar and anxiety. According to VeryWell Health, when blood sugar levels get too low, it triggers the body to release adrenaline, a fight or flight hormone, to help normalize blood sugar levels. This same biochemical response happens with anxiety. When blood sugar levels are chronically low, the body releases the stress hormone cortisol to bring levels to normal. Increased cortisol levels are associated with anxiety.

The fear of becoming hypoglycemic is linked to anxiety. A study in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes discussed how the fear of hypoglycemia (FOH) in children with Type 1 diabetes is associated with worry and anxiety. It is recommended to consume less sugar and eat plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, and farm-raised meats to help to keep blood sugar levels stable and anxiety at bay (via mindbodygreen).