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Cost-effective, group-based stress management programs can provide significant help for people with type 2 diabetes, say researchers from Duke University. Stress can raise blood-glucose levels by stimulating the release of counter-regulatory hormones, and it can also disrupt diabetes control by undermining diet and exercise programs and self-care routines.
According to the January issue of Diabetes Care, Richard S. Surwit, PhD, and colleagues randomly assigned 72 people with diabetes to undergo a five-session group diabetes education program either with or without stress management training. Participants were followed for one year, during which they received A1C tests at regular intervals. They also periodically filled out questionnaires assessing perceived stress levels, anxiety and psychological health.
Those participants who received stress management training showed a 0.5 percentage point reduction in A1c. The authors argue that even a reduction this small may translate into clinically significant benefits for people with type 2 diabetes.