7 Facts about Diabetes and Alcohol Use


Each person will have a slightly different reaction to alcoholic drinks so it’s well worth using blood tests to check how your body responds to it. If you have more than a single drink, most alcoholic drinks will tend to initially raise your blood sugar. As you may have guessed, the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. It is safest to avoid alcohol completely, but that may not be a step that you are willing to take.

If you have a history of depression or depressive symptoms, drinking alcohol can worsen your condition. It’s important to note that studies tend to lean toward more benefits coming can diabetics get drunk from light drinking, which would be no more than seven drinks a week. The Joslin Diabetes Center indicates hyperglycemia occurs with a blood sugar above 8.9 mmol/L160 mg/dL.

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Alcohol consumption can exacerbate the diabetes-related lipid abnormalities, because numerous studies have shown that heavy drinking can alter lipid levels even in nondiabetics. If you use insulin or some other diabetes medications like sulphonylureas, you’re more likely to have a hypo. Drinking alcohol can then add to this, because alcohol reduces your body’s ability to recover when blood sugar levels are dropping. Usually, the liver stores extra glucose which is released back into the blood when needed, such as when blood sugar levels drop. But alcohol stands in the way of the liver’s ability to do this effectively.

It also provides guidelines for how to safely include alcohol in a type 2 diabetes diet (if you so choose). Many people believe that drinking alcohol is a social activity and fun but seldom have they known about its long-lasting side effects. Diabetic eye disease (i.e., retinopathy) is another troublesome tissue complication of diabetes and one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States today. Good blood sugar and blood pressure control as well as regular eye examinations are essential for the prevention of retinopathy.

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Consequently, both of the body’s mechanisms to sustain blood sugar levels are inactivated in people who consume alcohol but do not eat, resulting in profound hypoglycemia. Different drinks vary in alcohol, carb, and sugar content and in how they affect a person’s blood sugar levels. The following tables contain information from the Department of Agriculture. They show the amount of carbs and sugar in different alcoholic beverages. Because of the effects alcohol can have on blood sugar control and other aspects of the disease, you face certain risks by drinking alcohol if you have type 2 diabetes that otherwise healthy people may not.

  • Reduction of LDL cholesterol decreases a person’s likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
  • Each alcoholic beverage takes between 1 and 1.5 hours to finish processing in the liver.
  • Understanding how alcohol is broken down (or metabolized) is key to knowing how to manage alcohol with type 2 diabetes.
  • “If you become hypoglycemic and there is alcohol on your breath, police or paramedics may mistake your condition for being drunk and you may not get the care you need,” said Dr. Roszler.