Does Diabetes Affect Hormones?

In short, to answer that question, no, diabetes does not affect your hormones, however, your hormones have a massive effect on your diabetes and blood sugar levels. Hormones are released by various organs and glands within your body that affects pretty much everything.

Some hormones that affect your diabetes are insulin, glucagon, amylin, epinephrine, cortisol, and growth hormone. The most directly related hormones are glucagon and everyone’s favorite, insulin. However, even our own sex hormones can affect our blood sugar levels. In those who have ovaries, estrogen and progesterone levels can affect how well our insulin works, or doesn’t. Same with those who have testes, testosterone levels can cause insulin resistance.

Let’s work out our sex hormones first. Estrogen is the hormone that helps with the development of female sex characteristics. It can also improve insulin sensitivity, however, the loss of estrogen can also lead to insulin resistance.

Insulin sensitivity is when your insulin works properly. Insulin resistance is when your insulin sensitivity is low and your cells can’t use your insulin very well.

Progesterone is the hormone that helps the body prepare for the possibility of pregnancy. Progesterone levels go high in the middle of your menstrual cycle and decrease when you’re about to have your period. If you are pregnant, your progesterone levels go up in preparation for the fetus to protect the fetus and allow proper amounts of glucose. However, high levels of progesterone can lead to insulin resistance.

Testosterone helps with the development of male sex characteristics. Lower testosterone levels lead to insulin resistance.

To counteract the affect your changes in life stages on the way your body interacts with your blood sugar, you should:

  • Keep track of your blood sugar levels and show any fluctuations to your doctor to examine and make any necessary changes
  • Watch your weight, being overweight can lead to out of control blood sugar levels
  • Eat a healthy diet full of high-fiber vegetables
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day to help your body use its insulin more properly

You’re going to grow older and your body is going to change, keep up with its changes so you can better manage your diabetes. To learn more about how those life stage changes can affect your diabetes, check out this article.

The other hormones are listed:

  • Insulin – released by the pancreas, allows the body to use glucose for energy by helping cells absorb sugar from the bloodstream. Resistance to insulin will make it difficult for the body’s cells to absorb the sugar causing all that unabsorbed sugar to stay in your bloodstream.
  • Glucagon – produced by the pancreas to control glucose and ketone production in the liver. It gets released between meals and overnight. If you’ve had a high sugar meal, the glucagon won’t be needed as there’s already a lot of sugar in bloodstream which can lead to less and less of the hormone being produced. This low level could cause your blood sugar levels to go too low because there wasn’t enough glucagon to help produce glucose from the liver.
  • Amylin – released along with insulin. It decreases the body’s glucagon levels, this decrease helps to decrease the production of glucose in the liver and slows the rate that food empties out of stomach.
  • Epinephrine – aka adrenaline, released from adrenal glands and nerve endings to stimulate the liver to produce sugar.
  • Cortisol – type of steroid hormone from adrenal gland. Works to make muscle and fat cells resistant to insulin action and enhances glucose production from the liver. High levels of cortisol can lead to insulin resistance.
  • Growth Hormone – released from the brain’s pituitary gland and has the similar functions of cortisol.

All of these hormones help to keep our blood sugar levels in check or keep them out of control. I’m not sure what we can do about helping our hormones to help our blood sugar but there is hormone therapy for our sex hormones.

I don’t think diabetes directly affects our hormones like our hormones do to our diabetes, but having out of control diabetes and blood sugar levels can throw everything out of whack. I hope this post helps lead you to more answers down the line for you.


References

Viveve.com
WebMD
Diabetes Health


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