Diabetics have many restrictions and concession to make when it comes to diet. One consideration is the various effects of alcohol on blood sugar levels. While most doctors agree that moderate drinking is acceptable for many diabetics, it is important to understand the possible conditions that can result from drinking in excess. The following outlines some of the concerns for mixing diabetes and alcohol consumption.
How Much is Too Much
If a person does not consume alcohol before they are diagnosed as diabetic, it is preferable that they do not start after the diagnosis. For those who already indulge, limiting intake is the key. Women should drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day, while men should consume no more than two servings. A serving is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 ½ ounces of liquor. Sugary mixed drinks and cordials should be avoided at all times.
When Consuming Alcohol
Hypoglycemia and drunkenness can both present as dizziness, sleepiness and disorientation, so it is important to know which is causing the symptoms when combining alcohol and diabetes. Before having the first sip, a diabetic should test his or her blood sugar levels. Since alcohol can cause hypoglycemia immediately after drinking up to 12 hours later, blood sugar levels should be tested again before going to bed. Alcohol should be sipped slowly and accompanied by food to keep blood alcohol levels low.
What are the Effects
A small quantity of alcohol causes blood sugar levels to rise, but excessive consumption will decrease sugars, sometimes to dangerous levels. Triglycerides, heart rate and blood pressure levels may increase. Too much alcohol inhibits diabetes medications and insulin from functioning properly. Furthermore, people who drink alcohol often lose track of or are less concerned with the types of food they consume while intoxicated, causing further complications.
Diabetics do not have to stop living; they just need to make certain changes in their lifestyles. Controlling alcohol consumption is one of those changes. Doctors should be informed of current consumption or the intent to consume alcohol so they can devise the best treatment plan. Consulting a dietician or nutritionist can help incorporate beverages into a daily eating program with ease. Wearing an identification tag that notates diabetes can be vital to help strangers know the difference between hypoglycemia and too much alcohol. When it comes to diabetes and alcohol consumption, making a few simple changes can save a person’s life.