Section 7: Glucose & Others (Stress, Travel, Temperature)

Date: 10/28/2016 13:00

Glucose and Stress
Stress causes many health problems. When people go through a long and continuous stressful lifestyle pattern, it can severely affect their health. During my demanding thirty-year career, I endured a constant stressful lifestyle. This led me to have severe chest pains on 5 different occasions, and severe Type 2 diabetes, which resulted in chronic toe injuries, bladder damage, gum infection, and kidney damage. However, after retiring from my business career, I have enjoyed a peaceful, non-eventful lifestyle (except for the year 2014). During that year, I went through 3 episodes of higher than normal stressful events from March through June, then from September through October, and again from November through December. Please see Figures 7-1: Comparison of Stressful Periods from March to December 2014 and Peaceful Period from January 2015 to October 2016.

Figure 7-1: Stress Scores Comparison of Stressful period ​ (3/2014 – 12/2014) & Peaceful Period (1/2015 – 10/2016)

From the following Figures 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, 7-5, and 7-6, we can observe the clear correlation among stress, blood pressure readings, glucose values, and A1C levels.

Figure 7-2: Stress Score During 2014
​Figure 7-3: Higher Blood Pressures During Stressful Periods
Figure 7-4: Higher Daily Glucose During Higher Blood Pressure & Stressful Periods
Figure 7-5: Higher A1C peaks Appear around 3 months Later of High Glucose
Figure 7-6: Putting Higher Stress Scores & Higher 90-days Average Glucose Together

Since the second and third stressful events occurred back to back, the charts reflect the high stress score, hypertension, and glucose to align with the two-time spans from March through June and again from September through December. However, the A1C value peaked approximately 3 months later than these time spans because A1C takes 3 to 4 months’ worth of average glucose values.

Furthermore, I suffered two separate physical traumas in 2015. The first incident occurred on June 23rd, where I fell on a sloped walkway resulting in a face injury and an emergency room visit. My recorded glucose values for the following three days after the accident were 152 mg/dL, 208 mg/dL, and 154 mg/dL, but then on the 4th day, the value dropped to normal level around 120 mg/dL. The second incident occurred on December 4th, where I sustained a leg injury on a construction site and went to the emergency room again. My recorded glucose values for the following three days after the accident were 145 mg/dL, 175 mg/dL, 165 mg/dL and then dropped to normal level around 120 mg/dL on the 4th day.

As a result of these two stressful incidents, my glucose level increased temporarily. Both cases took 4 days to allow the traumatic impact on my glucose to diminish. On April 8, 2016, I fell after missing a step on a stairway, but I did not sustain any physical injury. However, two hours after eating my normal low-carbohydrate and low-sugar breakfast, my PPG had spiked to 148 mg/dL – even with having the same breakfast as I always did and walking 4,000 steps after the meal. Although this was a minor incident, it demonstrated that stress can affect the glucose level.

Glucose & Travel
Throughout my life as a businessman, I have traveled extensively worldwide. To make it simple for my glucose discussion, I have only compiled my traveling record from 2012 to 2016. I define long trips as air travel time with more than 3 hours (along with +/-2 hours going in and out of the airport) which can affect about 2 meals. I define short air travel trips as flying time with less than 3 hours (along with +/-2 hours going in and out of the airport) which can affect about 1 meal. During the past 5 years, on average, I have flown every two weeks, or more precisely every 12.9 days. From my analysis of my health status on the flying days, I noticed that both my glucose and metabolism were affected noticeably by the traveling. The two main reasons my glucose and metabolism were affected are due to airline food, not being the best option for diabetics, and limited space for exercise. Once I figured out the main causes, I managed my air travel meals very carefully by watching what I can eat safely and to walk as much as I can after my meal in the crowded airport space. Therefore, during 2015 to 2016, both my glucose and metabolism index during air travel days have greatly improved, almost reaching my normal level of 120 mg/dL. These analysis results are in Figure 7-7.

Figure 7-7: Correlation Among Glucose, Metabolism & Air Travel

Glucose & Weather
I spent 40 years living in different states within the U.S. with less pollution, great weather, and mild climate (with temperatures ranging from 15℃ to 25℃). During the first half of 2016, I stayed in East Asia continuously for more than 6 months, throughout winter, spring, and early summer. Although I was traveling to different cities, I disciplined myself to maintain a routine lifestyle, which includes monitoring food, exercise, stress, sleep, water intake, other routines, etc. However, I noticed my glucose level continued an upward trend during February through June, when the temperature was getting hotter in Asia.I could not explain why but I wondered if the hot weather conditions affected my metabolism. Figure 7-8 provides a preliminary and short period (about 4.5 months) of data observation. I wrote this information here to invite other researchers’ attention and input on this topic.

Figure 7-8: Correlation Between Glucose & Atmosphere Temperature