Alcohol And Diabetes
Are You Losing Weight
Aspirin For Diabetics
HbA1c and Mean Blood Glucose
Dental Care in Diabetes
Diabetes and Depression
Diabetes and Eyes
Diabetes and Heart Problems
Diabetes and Kidney Problems
Diabetes and Pregnancy
Diabetes and Smoking
Diabetes Care During Other Infections
Diabetes in Children
Diabetes in Old Age
Diabetes Ketoacidosis in Children
Diabetes Prevention
Diabetic Coma
Diabetes Drug Treatment
Emergency in Diabetes
Diabetes and Exercise
Foot Care in Diabetes
Insulin Pumps
Monitoring of Diabetes
Nerve Involvement in Diabetes
Obesity or Over Weight
Role of Yoga in Diabetes
Skin and Sexual Problems in Diabetes
Spontaneous Hypoglycaemia
Stress and Diabetes
Symptoms of Diabetes
Testing of Sugar
Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus
Vacations, Travel and Diabetes

Alcohol And Diabetes

For Diabetics, is it safe to Drink?

Alcohol is every where-when the family gathers, at parties. "What will you have?" Some one asks. If you have diabetes, what do you say?

It all depends. Start by asking yourself three basic questions:

  • Is my diabetes under control?
  • Does my doctor agree that I am free from health problems that alcohol can make worse--for example, diabetic nerve damage or high blood pressure?
  • Do I know how alcohol can affect me and my diabetes?

If you said "yes" to all three, it's okay to have an occasional drink. What does occasional mean? The American Diabetes Association suggests that you have no more than two drinks a day.

Your Body and Alcohol

Alcohol moves very quickly into the blood without being broken down (metabolized) in your stomach. Within five minutes of having a drink, there is enough alcohol in your blood to measure. Thirty to ninety minutes after having drink, the alcohol in your bloodstream is at its highest level.

Your liver does most of the job of breaking down the alcohol once it is in your body. But it needs time. If your weight is 70 kg., it will take about 2 hours to metabolize a beer or mixed drink.

If you drink alcohol faster than your liver can break it down, the excess alcohol moves through your bloodstream to other parts of your body. Brain cells are easy targets. When someone talks about getting a buzz from alcohol, this is what they are feeling.

Risks of Low Blood Glucose

If you have diabetes and take Insulin shots or oral diabetes pills, you risk low blood glucose when you drink alcohol. To protect yourself, never drink on an empty stomach. Plan to have your drink with a meal or after eating a snack that contains protein, fat or both.

How does alcohol add to your chances of having low blood glucose? It has to do with your liver.

Normally, when your blood glucose level starts to drop, your liver steps in. It goes to work changing stored carbohydrate into glucose. Then it sends the glucose out into the blood, which helps you avoid or slow down a low blood glucose reaction.

However, when alcohol enters your system, this changes. Alcohol is a toxin. Your body reacts to alcohol like a poison. The liver, wants to clear it from the blood quickly. In fact, the liver won't put out glucose again until it has taken care of the alcohol. If your blood glucose level is falling, you can quickly wind up with very low blood glucose.

This is why drinking as little as 2 ounces of alcohol (about 2 drinks) on an empty stomach can lead to very low blood glucose.

When you mix alcohol and exercise, you increase the risk of going low. This can happen because exercise helps lower your blood glucose levels. Let's say you've just played a couple of hard sets of tennis. You have a beer after the match. But in the hours after the game, your body is still working. It replaces the energy your muscles used up. To do this, it clears glucose from the blood and adds it to the muscles's store. This is why hard exercise can cause your blood glucose level to go down.

If you take Insulin or diabetes pills, they too are working to clear glucose from your blood. Unless you eat or your liver adds glucose to your blood, you could be heading for a very low blood glucose level. If you drink a beer, the alcohol will stop yoUr liver from sending out any glucose. Your chances of going low are even greater.

If you take diabetes pills that work over a long period of time, such as chlorpropamide diabetese, you are at risk for very low blood glucose when drinking. This is because alcohol changes how the diabetes pill works. It makes the pill stronger and longer lasting. Hopefully, your doctor warned you about mixing long lasting diabetes pill with alcohol.

Low blood glucose when drinking is less of a risk for those with Type n diabetes who control their diabetes by diet and exercise alone. Still, alcohol is a wild card when it is mixed diet plans.

Don't Go Low

Following these guidelines to avoid low blood glucose levels when you drink:

  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Limit yourself to I or 2 drinks.

If you just finished hard exercise, test your blood glucose before you drink and at least once while you're drinking. Watch for falling blood glucose levels in the hours after exercise.

Alcohol also effects your body's ability to get over a low blood glucose level. If you have low blood glucose, you may need to treat it more than once as time goes by. If you have been drinking, check your blood glucose before you go to sleep. You may need to have a snack before you retire to avoid a low blood glucose reaction while you sleep.

Heavy drinking over time can hurt your liver. It won't be able to make glucose as well. When this happens, your diabetes is harder to control, Alcoholic drinks can have anywhere from 60 to 300 calories each.

To Eat Calories

  • Put less liquor in your drink.
  • Choose light beer over regular beer.
  • Use dry wine.

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