Moderation is a key word in diabetes management, and it is no different when it comes to diabetes and alcohol. We all know that alcohol can do major damage on the liver, but for diabetics, the liver looses its ability to release glucose (Source: www.dlife.com)
The liver sees alcohol as a toxin to the body and therefore, wants to get rid of it. For this reason, the alcohol enters the blood stream, and the liver does not release glucose. If no glucose is being released into the body, blood sugar levels drop. Experts say that diabetics should not drink on an empty stomach and that one to two drink per day should be a limit due to the various rates at which people metabolize alcohol (www.diabetes.org).
Low blood sugars are very dangerous when drinking for the following reasons:
- Glucagon shots cannot help a low caused by drinking. Glucagon is used in reaction to too much insulin, and it relies on the liver to release glucose into the system. However, when your liver is busy getting rid of the alcohol in your system, it is blocked from reacting to the glucagon. The only thing that will get someone out of a low blood sugar when intoxicated is carbohydrates, like candy or juice.
- The symptoms of intoxication and low blood sugar are often similar and people may not know the difference. Slurred speech and sleepiness are common both in low blood sugar and intoxication. It is very important to drink with people who know your signs of low blood sugar and who can help you with your diabetes if any problems arise.
- Do not drink alcohol if you suffer from diabetic complications. Nerve damage from diabetes can become worse from drinking alcohol. So can eye problems and blood pressure. (Source: www.diabetes.org)
My hope for this blog entry is to inform people about the dangers of mixing alcohol and diabetes. Please make wise decisions when drinking and know your limits.