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How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Diabetes?

By HERWriter
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How Can Drinking Alcohol Affect Diabetes? kichigin19/Fotolia

Diabetics do some planning regarding the foods and drinks they consume each day. It is natural to wonder how drinking alcohol affects diabetes. Is it safe for a diabetic to drink?

First there are a few questions that must be considered.

1) Is your diabetes under control?

2) Do you understand the effect alcohol will have on your blood sugar and what to do about it?

3) Have you talked with your health provider about whether you can drink, and how much you can consume?

If you are taking oral hypoglycemic medication, or need to inject insulin each day, regardless of whether you are a type 1 or type 2 diabetic, it is best to have a regular established routine already in place on how to manage your blood sugars, so that you stay within normal ranges. This way you can anticipate any changes that may occur if you drink alcohol.

This includes understanding and being in control of any other health problems you may additionally have, such as hypertension, elevated cholesterol and obesity.

Drinking alcohol can cause your blood sugar to rise or fall, depending on a few factors.

Beer and wine contain carbohydrates, which ordinarily would cause your blood sugar to rise. However, if you are taking oral medication to lower your blood sugar such as sulfonylureas and meglitinides, they act by stimulating the pancreas to make more insulin cautioned Healthline.com.

This means that instead of raising your blood sugar, your blood sugar can dangerously drop causing hypoglycemia, and may lead to insulin shock. Insulin shock is a medical emergency.

In addition, when you consume alcohol, your liver jumps into action to try and remove it from your blood. Your liver stops doing its other job of turning stored carbohydrates into useable glucose, which is another potential cause for hypoglycemia occurring in your blood.

This is why it is very important that you do not drink alcohol without eating some food beforehand or along with it. Eating food can slow down absorption of the alcohol. Healthline.com recommends testing your blood sugar before you drink so you know what it is when you start.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.