Effects of Alcohol on Diabetes

Alcohol, a commonly used substance made from the fermentation of yeast, sugars and starches have been consumed by 87.6% of adults above the age of 18 at some point in their lifetime.
Alcohol is depressant because of its capacity to depress the central nervous system.
When consumed in moderation, it doesn’t pose a risk, as a matter of fact, it has some health benefits.
Before we proceed with this article, I want to let you know that we have researched and compiled science-backed ways to stick to your diet and reverse your diabetes, we also have a 7-day meal plan (you don’t have to crack your head on the appropriate thing to eat). Will you like to check out Natural Diabetes Wellness Program? Click here to chat with us on WhatsApp.
However, it can be difficult for diabetics to maintain a safe blood sugar while drinking. Depending on which type of diabetes you have and your kind of medication, it is easy to become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemic (high blood sugar).
This post discusses the risks and benefits of drinking as it concerns people living with diabetes.
Can I drink if I have diabetes?
Yes, you can drink alcohol with diabetes, but the key like every other thing is moderation.
Also, note that if your blood sugar is not under control, DO NOT DRINK because it can cause it to become too high or too low.
Let your doctor know about your drinking habits so that they can make sure you’re not suffering any complications related to it.
Many types of alcohol are high in sugar, and those with type 2 diabetes can increase their risk of hyperglycemia by drinking these beverages. Having high blood sugar can cause many problems, see chart below:
How does alcohol affect my medications or insulin?
There are some certain medication for diabetes that works by telling the pancreas to keep producing insulin all the time, an example of such is sulfonylureas. Normally, it is a beautiful thing, however, if you’re not eating anything or if your liver isn’t making any glucose because it is busy cleaning out the alcohol, your blood sugar can drop drastically.
Talk to your doctor about the pills you are taking and if you can drink with them.
As for insulin, make sure you ask your doctor about your dosages when you plan on drinking.
Make sure you are honest with your physician about the amount and the type of alcohol that you drink. This can make them make the necessary adjustments to your medications. If you don’t know how your medications work, ask your doctor to explain them to you.
Alcohol should not be ingested if you are on antihistamines, beta blockers, anti-depressants, pain medications, or antibiotics. Talk to your doctor about your medications and their interactions with alcohol.
What are the implications of taking alcohol with diabetes?
You should take note that there several dangers that are associated with diabetes and drinking. It is important not to drink if your glucose is not under good control. Drinking too much or when your blood sugar is not under control can lead to complications and even death.
Damage to the body includes:
  • Worsened nerve problems
  • Liver damage or cirrhosis
  • Increased triglycerides
  • Enlarged heart and heart disease
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Damage to the eyes
  • Pancreatic, breast, mouth, liver, and larynx cancers
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome or miscarriage
Alcohol intake is also dangerous with type 1 diabetes because being intoxicated and hypoglycemia have the same symptoms.
Alcohol, which is made from the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches is a very commonly used substance.
In fact, 87.6% of adults aged 18 and over have consumed it at some point in their lifetime. It is also known as a depressant due to its capability to depress the central nervous system. About 71% have drank in the past year.
When enjoyed in moderation, alcohol does not pose a risk, and actually has some health benefits to it.
Before we continue with this article, I wanted to let you know we have researched and compiled science-backed ways to stick to your diet and reverse your diabetes. Want to check out our insights? Download our free PDF Guide “Power Foods to Eat” here.
However, for those with diabetes, it can be a struggle to maintain a safe blood sugar while drinking. It is very easy to become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemic (high blood sugar), depending on which type of diabetes you have and the medications that you take. Understanding the effects drinking has on diabetes is very important.
This article discusses the risks and benefits of drinking.
It also explains what drinks are best for individuals with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Can I drink if I have diabetes?
You can most certainly drink alcohol with diabetes. The key, just like many other things, is to do so in moderation.
Also, if your blood sugar is not under good control, you should not drink because it can cause it to become too high or too low. Your doctor should be aware of your drinking habits so that they can make sure that you are not experiencing any complications related to it.
Normally, the liver is the organ that stores and secretes glucose to the cells in the body to fuel them when you are not eating. The liver is also responsible for cleansing the body of toxins. The liver does not recognize alcohol as food. Instead, it sees it as a drug and a toxin. When alcohol is in the system, the liver changes gears and begins to detoxify in attempt to get rid of the alcohol. Unfortunately, the liver cannot do both jobs at the same time. While it is detoxifying, it stops secreting glucose. On average, the liver can only break down one drink of alcohol per hour.
For someone who is on insulin or certain medications (Glipizide and Amaryl are two examples), this can pose to be dangerous. Unless you are eating, the insulin continues to work and drop the blood sugar. This can happen very quickly if appropriate actions are not taken.
Many types of alcohol are high in sugars. Those with Type 2 diabetes can increase their risk of hyperglycemia by drinking these beverages. Having high blood sugar can cause many problems (see the chart below for a list of them). All drink labels should be read before consumption. See the section of this article entitled “What kind of alcohol is the best to drink” for more nutritional information regarding alcoholic beverages.
How does alcohol affect my medications or insulin?
There are certain pills for diabetes, such as sulfonylureas, that work by telling the pancreas to keep making insulin all the time. Normally this is a great thing, but if you aren’t eating anything or if your liver isn’t making any glucose because it is busy cleaning out the alcohol, your blood sugar can drop pretty quickly. Talk to your physician about the pills that you are taking and if it is safe to drink with them.
As far as insulin goes, you should talk to your doctor about your insulin dosages when you plan on drinking. If you have an insulin pump, your doctor may want you to lower your basal rate while you are drinking. If you take long-acting insulin that peaks hours after you administer it, your doctor may want you to reduce the dosage. Make sure you are honest with your physician about the amount and the type of alcohol that you drink. This can help them make the most appropriate adjustments to your medications. If you are unsure about how your medications work, ask your doctor to explain them to you.
Alcohol should not be ingested if you are on antihistamines, beta blockers, anti-depressants, pain medications, or antibiotics. Talk to your doctor about your medications and their interactions with alcohol.
What are the dangers of drinking alcohol with diabetes?
There are several dangers that are associated with diabetes and drinking. Most importantly, you should not drink if your glucose is not under good control. Drinking too much or when your blood sugar is not under control can lead to complications and even death.
Damage to the body includes:
  • Worsened nerve problems
  • Liver damage or cirrhosis
  • Increased triglycerides
  • Enlarged heart and heart disease
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Damage to the eyes
  • Pancreatic, breast, mouth, liver, and larynx cancers
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome or miscarriage
  • Drinking alcohol with Type 1 diabetes is especially dangerous because being intoxicated and hypoglycemia have the same symptoms.
These include:
  • Drowsiness
  • Memory loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Unsteady movements
  • Passing out
  • Slurred speech
And this similarity can lead to a delay in treatment. Also, Glucagon, the medication that is carried by emergency medical personnel to increase blood sugar rapidly, does not work when alcohol is in the system and it can lead to a very quick death.
Alcohol and risks of liver damage
Alcohol can make the liver to be overloaded if you drink more than it can process. If this should occur, then liver damage can happen. And for diabetics, it is very dangerous because the liver helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
Signs of liver disease are:
  • Jaundice (yellowing) of skin or eyeballs
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion or drowsiness
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Pain in the upper right quadrant
Liver disease can lead to problems that include:
  • Fluid in the abdomen
  • Kidney failure
  • An enlarged spleen
  • Problems with bleeding veins in the digestive tract
  • Confusion, brain damage, or coma
  • Liver cancer
Once the liver is damaged, it cannot be reversed. This is why prevention is key. Drinking in moderation is the best way to prevent liver damage or disease.
Please, talk to your doctor about your drinking habits to see if you are at a high risk of developing it.
Are you living with diabetes and have alcohol habit?
If yes, please know that the lower your alcohol consumption, the better for you – moderation is key.
Even though moderate drinking has some health benefits, such as:
  • Increased HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Decrease risk of stroke
  • Lower risk of gallstones
It is important to know that above moderation will leave you with no benefits but complications. Moderation is said to be a drink for a woman and two at most for a man.
Your Natural Health Coach
Mr Ola
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