Alcohol and hypoglycemia: Link, signs, and treatment

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. While a glass of wine with dinner probably isn’t a big deal, a mojito on an empty stomach at happy hour is. Blood glucose, alcohol, and insulin were measured throughout the evaluation. There were no significant differences in blood glucose in the evening or overnight observation periods.

“Everybody’s a little bit different, so you can’t just copy how a friend with diabetes manages their insulin around a glass of wine,” says Harris. “excessive drinking”–defined by more than four drinks daily–can absolutely worsen your kidney disease and be a life-threatening habit. The carb-content in an alcoholic beverage, Harris says people too often make false assumptions. The reason diabetes and alcohol is such a complicated combination is because your body essentially views alcohol as a poison that the liver must process immediately. • Do not consume more than two drinks of alcohol in one day if you are a man, and no more than one drink per day if you are a woman. Some medications interact with alcohol, increasing its toxic effects. Drinking while taking these medications can either increase or decrease their effectiveness, or make them dangerous.

Your “drinking with diabetes” checklist

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.

Consider reducing the insulin dose of fast-acting insulin for meals while drinking to prevent low blood sugar hours after you’ve finished drinking. Generally, eating a meal with your drinks is critical, and ideally, that meal would contain a few carbohydrates, too.

USDA National Nutrient Database UCSF Medical Center 7/05

The mechanisms underlying the development of alcoholic ketoacidosis are complex. However, some typical contributing factors result in insulin lack and excess glucagon levels, thereby promoting the development of ketoacidosis. As mentioned earlier in this article, poor food intake can lead to depleted glycogen levels. Furthermore, continued alcohol metabolism results in diminished gluconeogenesis. Both the depletion of glycogen and diminished gluconeogenesis lead to lower blood sugar levels. Because insulin restrains glucagon secretion, lower insulin secretion allows increased glucagon secretion, setting the stage for the development of ketoacidosis. This situation can be amplified if the drinker vomits repeatedly.

Alcohol is high in sugar and calories, which can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. Drinking moderately isn’t likely to lead to type 2 diabetes, but excessive drinking over time can be a trigger for its development. 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. Pay attention to labels and serving sizes because different alcoholic drinks impact sugar levels differently. The role of blood sugar in your overall health is extremely important to understand for quite a few reasons, and it’s also helpful to know how alcohol affects blood sugar.

Teach your friends and family about alcohol and diabetes management

Accordingly, more studies are needed to determine whether the beneficial effects of daily moderate alcohol consumption outweigh the deleterious effects. Diabetics clearly should avoid heavy drinking (i.e., more than 10 to 12 drinks per day), because it can cause ketoacidosis and hypertriglyceridemia. Moreover, heavy drinking in a fasting state can cause hypoglycemia and ultimately increase diabetics’ risk of death from noncardiovascular causes. 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.

What alcohol is lowest in sugar?

If you're looking to go low sugar, then there are some basic approaches you can take. Your best bet is to stick with hard spirits like gin, vodka, whiskey and rum, but watch your mixer. Wine is a good option, but it's best to go for a red or a dry white. Beer might be good for low sugar, but it can be high in calories.

For people with diabetes, drinking alcohol can cause low or high blood sugar, affect diabetes medicines, and cause other possible problems. Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly process glucose, or blood sugar, can diabetics get drunk from food. As a result, glucose in the blood can reach dangerous levels and create serious health problems. When not managed properly, diabetes can lead to numerous physical problems, including nerve, kidney and heart damage.

Lose Weight with Type 1 Diabetes –

Hypoglycemia can have serious, even life-threatening, consequences, because adequate blood sugar levels are needed to ensure brain functioning. An occasional social drink is usually harmless for people with diabetes.

Alcohol and Diabetes: Understanding the Risks and Benefits – Verywell Health

Alcohol and Diabetes: Understanding the Risks and Benefits.

Posted: Thu, 27 Oct 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

It’s unlikely that a DUI charge will remain if you can show that you were having a medical emergency. However, it is possible that other charges could be pressed, such as charges for reckless driving. It’s a good idea to look into defensive options so that you can make sure you don’t end up with an unfair DUI on your record if your traffic stop was a result of diabetes. Did you know that there are medical conditions that mimic intoxication? Unfortunately, if you have a medical emergency caused by one of these conditions, you could end up being accused of being impaired when you actually need medical attention. If hyperglycemia occurs for too long, then the body will create ketones.

The Best Sweeteners for People with Diabetes

Even a single binge can cause serious irregular heartbeats called atrial fibrillation. Heavy drinking can cause increased fat in the liver and inflammation of the liver .

  • Ketoacidosis, which occurs primarily in diabetics, is a condition characterized by excessive levels of certain acids called ketone bodies (e.g., acetone, acetoacetate, and β-hydroxybutyrate) in the blood.
  • Drinking alcohol can lead to serious low blood sugar reactions, especially if you take insulin or types of diabetes pills that stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas.
  • Diabetes and alcohol consumption are the two most common underlying causes of peripheral neuropathy.
  • Maybe their doctors cautioned them that drinking and diabetes don’t mix.
  • She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences.
  • Don’t use dangerous equipment, or engage in activities that require coordination, concentration, or alertness.

Abigail Martínez

Licenciada en Ciencia Política y Relaciones Internacionales por el CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas) y Maestra en Políticas Públicas por Macquarie University. Se especializa en análisis político y comunicación estratégica. Colaboradora de The HuffPost México, Gluc MX y ENEUSmx.

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