Alcohol is processed in the body very similarly to the way fat is processed, and alcohol provides almost as many calories. Therefore, drinking alcohol in people with diabetes can cause your blood sugar to rise. If you choose to drink alcohol, only drink it occasionally and when your diabetes and blood sugar level are well-controlled. If you are following a calorie-controlled meal plan, one drink of alcohol should be counted as two fat exchanges.
It is a good idea to check with your doctor to see if drinking alcohol is safe for you.
Colleen Schultz was stunned to learn that her blood sugar level was high during a routine doctor visit in the fall of 2010. Though she did not have diabetes, her results were in the prediabetes range. "I was very upset," says Schultz, a drapery fabricator in Voorheesville, N.Y. "It was depressing thinking I was falling apart. I didn't want to take medications for the rest of my life."
Her doctor gave her a prescription, which Schultz tried and then decided she'd rather focus on her doctor's other...
Here are some other ways that alcohol can affect diabetes:
While moderate amounts of alcohol can cause blood sugar to rise, excess alcohol can actually decrease your blood sugar level -- sometimes causing it to drop into dangerous levels.
Beer and sweet wine contain carbohydrates and may raise blood sugar.
Alcohol stimulates your appetite, which can cause you to overeat and may affect your blood sugar control.
Alcohol may also affect your judgment or willpower, causing you to make poor food choices.
Alcohol can interfere with the positive effects of oral diabetes medicines or insulin.
Alcohol may increase triglyceride levels.
Alcohol may increase blood pressure.
Alcohol can cause flushing, nausea, increased heart rate, and slurred speech.
These may be confused with or mask the symptoms of low blood sugar.
Diabetes and Alcohol Consumption Dos and Don'ts
People with diabetes who drink should follow these alcohol consumption guidelines:
Do not drink more than two drinks of alcohol in a one-day period if you are a man, or one drink if you are a woman. (Example: one alcoholic drink = 5-ounce glass of wine, 1 1/2-ounce "shot" of liquor or 12-ounce beer).
Drink alcohol only with food.
Avoid "sugary" mixed drinks, sweet wines, or cordials.
Mix liquor with water, club soda, or diet soft drinks.
Always wear a medical alert piece of jewelry that says you have diabetes.
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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