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7 Facts about Diabetes and Alcohol Use

By January 10, 2020November 18th, 202290 Comments

The Nordic drinking pattern is traditionally characterized by weekend binge drinking and consumption of beer and spirits rather than wine. Our results suggest that binge drinking will increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women but not in men. Binge drinking in men is almost normative in Finland (40% of subjects) and, hence, only weakly indicative of alcohol dependence or abuse compared with the situation in women. However, we do not have the data to identify subjects with alcoholism in the sample. However, the notion of a protective effect of moderate drinking was supported by a comparison of moderate alcohol-consuming twins with their low alcohol-consuming sibling. When coupled with insulin injections , excessive alcohol intake can lead to dangerously low levels of blood glucose, causing hypoglycaemia.

Can diabetics drink alcohol type 2?

The safest approach to drinking alcohol if you have type 2 diabetes is to drink in moderation, choose beverages that are low in sugar and carbs, never drink on an empty stomach, and keep close tabs on your blood sugar levels before, during, and after drinking. American Diabetes Association.

The findings are considered preliminary until published as a full manuscript in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Talk with your provider if you or someone you know with diabetes has an alcohol problem. Carry a source of sugar, such as glucose tablets, in case of low blood sugar. If you have diabetes complications, such as nerve, eye, or kidney damage, your provider may recommend that you not drink any alcohol. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Drinking less—as any healthcare professional will tell you—is better.

How to Adjust your Basal Rate While Drinking

These include all of the insulins and pills in the sulfonylurea category and in the glinide category. The most commonly used glucose-lowering medications for type 2 diabetes today generally don’t cause hypoglycemia. Along with the potential for your blood sugar level to go too high or low, many medicines for diabetes aren’t compatible with drinking alcohol. If you have diabetes and are concerned with alcohol and blood sugar interactions, you should plan on checking your levels both before and after drinking. It’s also important to check levels before going to bed to ensure you don’t enter into a period of hypoglycemia while asleep. Be especially careful about medicating high sugar levels caused by alcohol use, as these can drop suddenly, causing a dangerous episode of hypoglycemia.

alcohol and diabetes

A number of previous studies has found that moderate alcohol consumers experience a 30–40% reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes (3,4,6–12). With regard to high alcohol consumption, we find no support for an increased risk in men as suggested previously (1–7) or for a protective effect, as indicated by others . Lean to normal weight women who consume comparatively high amounts of alcohol were found to have an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. Your liver releases glucose into the blood stream as needed to help keep blood sugar at normal levels. When you drink alcohol, your liver needs to break down the alcohol.

What is Diabetes?

When both develop in the same person, risks of complications and early death increase. • Alcohol stimulates alcohol and diabetes your appetite, which can cause you to overeat and may affect your blood sugar control.

Second, diabetics who have consumed alcohol, particularly those with type 1 diabetes, experience a delayed glucose recovery from hypoglycemia. Detailed analyses demonstrated that although the glucagon and epinephrine responses to hypoglycemia were unaffected, the growth hormone and cortisol responses were reduced after alcohol consumption. C-peptide levels, and thus insulin production, were significantly lower in both groups of diabetics than in non-diabetics. No difference in C-peptide levels existed, however, between drinking and nondrinking diabetics, indicating that chronic alcohol consumption did not alter the diabetics’ insulin production. Two additional medications—metformin and troglitazone—are now being used to treat people with type 2 diabetes. These agents act to lower the patient’s blood sugar levels by decreasing insulin resistance rather than by increasing insulin secretion.

The Risks

It is a good idea to check with your doctor to see if drinking alcohol is safe for you. Your liver will choose to metabolize the alcohol over maintaining your blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. The liver often makes this choice when you drink without eating food—so consider snacking while you sip. Take a look at the numbers and you’ll find that only moderate drinkers have less cardiovascular disease.

Even for those who don’t have diabetes, it is important to know your limits when drinking alcohol. Alcohol can cause dehydration, which can lead to other problems such as low blood pressure and fainting. Sulfonylureas and meglitinides help lower blood sugar levels, but may intensify when combined with alcohol. Stick to no more than two drinks in a one-day period if you are a man and one drink per day if you are a woman. It is important to note that while wine may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, it may not be safe to use for someone who already has developed diabetes. Additionally, heavy use of wine or any alcohol negates any positive effect the wine may provide.

It Makes Blood Sugar Control More Difficult

The average age of participants was about 56 years, slightly more than half of the adults were women and 95% were white adults. Your body processes alcohol differently than most foods and beverages. And if you have type 2 diabetes, drinking alcohol may have some benefits—such as lowering glucose levels in the blood—and some real risks, like driving glucose levels down too low. If you are managing your diabetes with diet and exercise alone, drinking alcohol can stil increase your risk of low blood sugars. And if you take insulin or types of diabetes pills that stimulate insulin production, drinking alcohol can lead to even more serious low blood sugar reactions. Despite the potential health perks of drinking alcohol, there are some cautions as well. When drinking alcohol is combined with the medications most often used to treat diabetes—particularly insulin and sulfonylureas, low blood sugar can result.


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