Alcohol is known to be a tricky factor to take control of for diabetics. The effect that alcohol has on diabetes depends on how much the diabetic drinks, if they ate before drinking, and if the diabetic uses insulin. For type 1 diabetics, alcohol has shown from research to cause low blood sugars, and the risk of hypoglycemic moments continues onwards for 12 hours.
Alcohol lowers blood sugar levels because during the metabolization, it does not get changed to glucose. If a diabetic is to drink without eating first, the body is not getting any new source of glucose and thus a low blood sugar occurs.
How Can I know I am drinking correctly?
It is easy to forget about your diabetes during a night out, but it should never get in the way of having a great night! If you are going to drink and you are insulin dependent, be sure to eat something before you drink to avoid the low blood sugar moments. It is better to be safe than sorry. Similar to any normal person drinking- it is always better to have a stomach full of food than to drink on an empty one.
Always have your kit ready in case anything happens, such as glucose tablets, a juice box, or anything else necessary to treat a hypoglycemic moment.
Remember to do a quick blood test before going out or even after your first drink out so you can see the effect of the alcohol on your blood levels.
Another important element to drinking with diabetes is letting the people that you are with know that you have diabetes and what to do in the case that anything were to happen.
How Much Should I be Drinking?
Adult Men: 2 drinks per day
Adult Women: 1 drink per day
Does the type of alcohol make a difference?
The best way to know which type of alcohol has different effects on your body is to discuss it with your doctor. Scientifically speaking, all alcohols have the same effect on your body because the fermentation process is the same for all. The alcohol will appear in your blood about six minutes after consumption. The food available in your stomach slows down the alcohol absorption.
The best way to drink alcohol is with soda water or a diet soda. Avoid excess sugar and syrups as it will take your body longer to filter out the sugars.
Definitely avoid sugary mixed drinks done by bartenders to attract your attention. They may look delicious, but in combination with alcohol they may end your night very badly.
After a night out, it would be a good idea to have a small carb snack to assure you have 0 hypos during your sleep.
The Morning After
After a night of alcohol, you are susceptible to lows in the morning. Your liver is busy filtering out the alcohol that has been consumed, so it is distracted from producing your regular amount of glucose that saves us from low blood sugars.
Continually check your blood sugar the next day, and correct as necessary. And of course, DRINK WATER.
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