Stress reduction techniques such as relaxation and breathing exercises can help lower A1c (HbA1c) levels by as much as 1% or more, according to principle investigator, Richard Surwit of Duke University Medical Center.
The study worked with 108 patients with type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. All patients took part in 5 30-minute educational sessions about diabetes. Half also got stress management training as well. There were no differences in weight, diet or exercise between the 2 groups.
After a year, 32 percent of the stress management patients had a 1 percent or better reduction in HemoglobinA1c (HbA1c) levels, as opposed to only 12 percent of the patients who did not get the stress training.
"Experiencing stress is associated with the release of hormones that lead to energy mobilization -- known as the 'fight or flight' response," Surwit said. "Key to this energy mobilization is the transport of glucose into the bloodstream, resulting in elevated glucose levels, which is a health threat for people with diabetes.''