Diabetes and Alcohol

A diabetic cannot consume alcohol liberally. He can consume but he has to be careful. It is better he seeks the physician’s advice. Alcohol tends to lower blood sugar and cause hypoglycemia(low blood sugar). Serious health problems can occur if the diabetes is not under control and one consumes alcohol. Drinking is advisable only when the diabetes is under control.

Restricted drinking for diabetics is recommended. They can enjoy a drink, but not too many. Alcohol adds calories. Beer and wine also contain carbohydrates. One has to count the carbohydrates from one’s meal and this includes carbohydrates from alcohol as well.

How it works ?
When you drink, your liver stops making glucose so that it can instead clean the alcohol from your blood. Since glucose production is shut down, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) becomes a risk for those suffering from diabetes. This is particularly so if one drinks on an empty stomach or shortly after taking insulin or glucose-lowering oral medications. And because it takes two hours for just one ounce of alcohol to metabolize and leave your system,the risk remains long after you’ve emptied the glass.

Permissible amount
The United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) has laid down certain guidelines. It is the same that applies to the general population. A maximum of two drinks per day for men and one drink daily for women.( A higher alcohol intake is permissible for most men because women have a lower body water content then men and also metabolize alcohol more slowly. For those above 65 years of age, one alcohol drink daily is recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Effects of alcohol on a diabetic

  • Liver gets damaged. Liver stores glucose and releases it into the bloodstream when your blood sugar level falls. Due to excessive alcohol, the liver is unable to release glucose into the bloodstream
  • If diabetes is being treated with insulin or some type of tablet, drinking alcohol may cause your blood sugar levels to fall further and you may suffer from low blood sugar reaction ( a hypo)
  • Your judgment also gets impaired when you drink. You may not realize that your blood sugar levels are low.
  • Hypoglycemia and drunken behavior can be confused with each other. Always wear a bracelet or carry a document which states that your are a diabetic
  • Alcohol is high in calories. Heavy drinkers can suffer from obesity, which in turn can lead to diabetes.

Control the drinking of your loved one if he or she happens to be diabetic. After all, he or she also must live and enjoy life to the maximum. Why cut short one’s life due to alcohol? A diabetic can also have his or her drinks, but within prescribed limits. Alcohol can be detrimental to the health of the diabetic if taken in a unlimited proportions.