Why being angry can make you a target for diabetes

Picture this:

You’re sitting in a traffic jam, late for work. Your head is pounding as you clench the wheel.

Or, you’re having that same argument with your spouse. Again.

We know that these frequent episodes of stress and anxiety contribute to hypertension and heart disease.

If these types of stressful incidents happen regularly, the spike in blood pressure that comes with each episode can cause damage to your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys.

You’re a heart attack waiting to happen.

But can stress cause diabetes? Isn’t that all about blood sugar?

Not according to recent evidence. It seems there’s a real connection between stress, hostility, pessimism, and the onset of diabetes.

Not a new idea

In fact, a connection between stress and diabetes has been on the medical radar for at least 400 years. English physician Thomas Willis noted that diabetes often showed up in people who had experienced significant life stresses, sadness or long sorrow.

In 1935, renowned American psychiatrist Dr. William Menninger described a “diabetic personality.”

In 2002, researchers at Duke University School of Medicine continued investigating the idea that hostility, anger, and diabetes are connected.

They looked at a group of 98 men and women, both Caucasian and African-American, to see whether hostility related to glucose metabolism.

The study results showed that hostility affected fasting insulin levels in women and Caucasians (a high fasting insulin level indicates insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes).

For African-American subjects, it was fasting blood sugar levels that were affected by high hostility and anger.

The study authors think these results open up another way to look at how diabetes develops, other than genetics and poor lifestyle choices.

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Hostility in women a risk factor

A more recent study has found a strong link between a hostile personality and the onset of diabetes in women.

Dr. Juhua Luo, a professor at Indiana State University’s School of Public Health, looked at subjects from the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term national health study focused on preventing heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

While examining the personality and health traits of study participants, Dr. Luo and her colleagues found that cynicism was associated with the onset of diabetes. An angry temperament was associated with greater diabetes risk.

A woman with a high optimism score had a 12 percent lower chance of diabetes than one with a low score. And being more hostile increased a woman’s likelihood of developing diabetes by 17 percent.

The diabetes-stress connection

It’s becoming widely recognized that there’s a link between stress and diabetes. But the mechanisms are somewhat unclear.

When we’re stressed and angry, our body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which causes a rise in blood sugar to fuel the “fight-or-flight” response. In non-diabetics, this high level of blood sugar is temporary.

But if someone is already predisposed to diabetes, either through genetics or lifestyle, it seems likely that a lot of stress could tip the scales.

Also, emotional stress often causes poor health choices, such as getting too little sleep and eating foods that lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome.

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Natural ways to prevent diabetes

A diet based on natural, unprocessed foods, along with regular physical activity, is a start. But there are so many other ways you can take control over your diabetes risk!

Dental care. Believe it or not, gum disease, combined with a lack of Vitamin D, is a double whammy that skyrockets your chances of developing diabetes.

Stress reduction. Yoga is a practice that’s proven to lower your body’s stress response. So is .meditation.

If your blood sugar levels are already edging toward the high end of things, here are 23 nutrients, vitamins, and herbs that could lower it naturally.

Editor’s note: Are you feeling unusually tired? You may think this is normal aging, but the problem could be your master hormone. When it’s not working, your risk of age-related diseases skyrockets. To reset what many call “the trigger for all disease” and live better, longer, click here to discover The Insulin Factor: How to Repair Your Body’s Master Controller and Conquer Chronic Disease!


  1. Hostility, Race, and Glucose Metabolism in Nondiabetic IndividualsDiabetes Care
  2. Hostility, low optimism traits may increase type 2 diabetes risk
  3. Here’s how stress can cause diabetes — Health24
  4. Personality traits and diabetes incidence among postmenopausal womenMenopause
  5. Does Emotional Stress Cause Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus? A Review from the European Depression in Diabetes (EDID) Research ConsortiumDiscovery Medicine
Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.