Drinking Alcohol & Diabetes


(DiabetesNewsHound) #1

We ran an article this morning on Diabetes News Hound about a new study that concluded that moderate alcohol consumption can actually stave off type two diabetes for people with prediabetes. You can read the news here.

It got me to wondering about the drinking habits of people with all types of diabetes. If you are of legal age, how often do you drink? And, how does that impact your blood sugar?

OTHER HEADLINES FROM DIABETES NEWS HOUND FOR OCT. 14, 2009

Key Finding May Help Reeducate Immune System of Diabetics

Diabetes Lower in Communities With Sidewalks, Healthy Foods

Severe Sleep Apnea Increases Diabetes Risk

 

Share


(Woo Its Pat) #2

I had diabetes and was drinking before I was of 'legal age,' and I don't discriminate when it comes to drinks. I'm a beer snob and that leads to consumption of higher ABV % beers as well as heavier beers. Both can affect glucuose. I have never had a night of just drinking where I come home and my glucose is really high. Even when I'm thoroughly hammered, I still manage to give myself 2-3 unit boluses every couple hours to maintain.

Anyone else notice that the insulin Rx boxes say "do not consume alcohol while taking this medication?" Wonder what the reason is behind that because I don't think it's stopped any of us...


(DDrumminMan) #3

Years and years of experience tells me that the risk is not in going high, but in going low within the 48 hours following getting thoroughly hammered.  And I don't mean just mild lows.  I mean sweating profusely, not knowing where you are or who you,and getting taken to the hospital in an ambulance kind of lows.  That's why the warnings on there.  It's also the reason I quit years back.  Just got to where it wasn't worth it for me.

But, to each his/her own.


(kbuckleync) #4

DDrumminMan is totally right.  That happened to me a couple of times, during my 20s, where I drank way too much, didn't have any idea what my BGs were, and then woke up in the ER (after my best friend called 911).

If i remember correctly it has something to do with what's going on in your liver.  It makes your BG drop quickly, after an initial high.

So don't ever go to bed alone after drinking a lot.


(system) #5

[quote user="Kristen"]

DDrumminMan is totally right.  That happened to me a couple of times, during my 20s, where I drank way too much, didn't have any idea what my BGs were, and then woke up in the ER (after my best friend called 911).

If i remember correctly it has something to do with what's going on in your liver.  It makes your BG drop quickly, after an initial high.

So don't ever go to bed alone after drinking a lot.

[/quote]

me = goes to bed ALONE 90% of the time after drinking since the age of 15. everything from one beer to being so drunk i can barely walk.


(MichelleJasmine) #6

I rarely drink after a few crazy years in college.

I get low. I get sloppy. I get mean.

I'll still drink wine or beer.  Tequilla is my drink of choice - so, very rarely, I allow myself to have some, in the company of others.


(Drew21) #7

[quote user="Pat"]

Even when I'm thoroughly hammered, I still manage to give myself 2-3 unit boluses every couple hours to maintain.

[/quote]

ahh sorry, that made me laugh, thoroughly hammered, thats great.

Im the same way though, I always check every few hours, my sugars go high when im drinking, and then they drop a few hours after I am done, so I eat before I go to bed, I ALWAYS eat before I go to bed. I only drink once maybe twice  aweek at that now a days. but some times I do get pretty drunk, but Diabetes is always the first thing on my mind.


(Woo Its Pat) #8

[quote user="Andrew"]

[quote user="Pat"]

Even when I'm thoroughly hammered, I still manage to give myself 2-3 unit boluses every couple hours to maintain.

[/quote]

ahh sorry, that made me laugh, thoroughly hammered, thats great.

Im the same way though, I always check every few hours, my sugars go high when im drinking, and then they drop a few hours after I am done, so I eat before I go to bed, I ALWAYS eat before I go to bed. I only drink once maybe twice  aweek at that now a days. but some times I do get pretty drunk, but Diabetes is always the first thing on my mind.

[/quote]

glad I can bring humor to the table. sometimes people need a good laugh. too many serious people out there :)

Yeah I'm too busy at this point to drink as often as I'd like. Usually after practice on Thursday ($10 buckets) and after matches on Saturdays (free!). I guess one can't forget stocking up for Sunday football..

I haven't been "thoroughly hammered" since I was in Atlanta for rugby back in April 2008. I don't remember anything past 10pm that night since that's when it said I made a phone call to my friend in MD and somehow ended up face down on the floor of my hotel room. BUT, the important thing is that when I awoke (by being kicked repeatedly by a team mate) my glucose was 80. Win!


(Drew21) #9

haha absolutley, I love terms like that, Im probably gonna have to use it haha.

 

yeah those nights always get pretty crazy, I remember my birthday, my friend is a nurse and aparently she had to check my bloodsugar after I threw up? No idea about any of this but I was at 135 haha


(plaidjack) #10

I used to drink like a fish in college and most of my early 20's. Now I drink a few times a week. I usually avoid beer (it sends my blood sugar high) and stick to vodka sodas and good tequilla on the rocks. I feel like alcohol somehow delays insulin onset or something. Have they ever done studies on that?

I must say the biggest danger in drinking is when you try to keep your blood sugar normal, then go to bed wasted and your blood sugar goes low. Very dangerous! I've had a few nights of sitting on the kitchen floor drinking syrup at 5am.


(ajax) #11

[quote user="Kristen"]

If i remember correctly it has something to do with what's going on in your liver.  It makes your BG drop quickly, after an initial high.

[/quote]

 

Biology lesson, for whoever's interested:

 

your liver has 2 jobs. It give you basal sugar at a relatively constant rate (except when you're sick, stressed, etc) and it filters toxins. It does both using the same metabolic pathways, which means that it can't filter toxins at the same time as giving you sugar. Alcohol is a toxin, so when you drink, your liver stop puttiung out sugar while it filters the alochol out (which takes somewhere around one hour per drink). In a normal pancreas-ed body, the pancreas responds to dropping glucose levels by putting out less insulin. When your pancreas is a pump or a long lasting shot, you have to do the reduction yourself in order to keep from going low, or you have to compensate with carbs.

The scariest part about alcohol is it interrupts the pathway for glucagon to work as well - so if you go low and pass out and your friends try to give you glucagon, it probably won't work, because your liver will probably still be busy trying to filter those toxins, and not "listening" for the glucagon.

You can also end up low several hours after your liver has finished processing the alcohol (which can be several hours after you stop drinking) because your body is trying to replenish the glycogen stores. The same thing happens with exercise.

 

 

Severe lows are a serious possibility, and waking up in a jail cell sucks, so check often, make sure you have both fast and long acting carbs, err on the side of caution (being high), and make sure your friends are looking out for you and know not to leave you to "sleep it off" if you pass out. Also, a medical ID can't hurt (though I found out that it won't necessarily help).


(kdewi) #12

There have been several occasions in my life with diabetes where I've had way to much to drink.  Most of my falling down drunk experiences were back in my college years.  I guess I was lucky that I never woke up in the ER.  As is common with most of the replies on this thread, I never experienced soaring BG levels during and after drinking.  Today I'm more careful about monitoring things and I don't usually drink to excess... except for maybe a few times a year :-).  Aside from tequila, I'm not a big liquor fan so I stick mainly to light beer and red wine.  I rarely bolus for my drinks alone, maybe .5u for a couple beers, as the alcohol seems to kind of "take care of itself" for lack of a better term.  Of course I'm usually eating while drinking so I will bolus for those carbs.  If I'm having a few drinks, I'll check my BG every couple of hours over the course of the evening and aim for around 120mg/dl when I goto bed. I'll usually wake up to pee in the middle of the night anyway, so that's a good time to make sure my BG isn't doing anything crazy.  Sometimes I'll even drink a big glass of water just before bed to make sure my bio-alarm wakes me up in a few hours-- I hate resetting my alarm clock.  My experience and the way I manage my diabetes fits my lifestyle and it works great for me-- I know how my body works.


(ajax) #13

[quote user="Kirk"]

Sometimes I'll even drink a big glass of water just before bed to make sure my bio-alarm wakes me up in a few hours-- I hate resetting my alarm clock.

[/quote]

i usually do the same, to ward off hang overs...  :D


(Gina) #14

I just get wasted every night and do not care whether i get high or low. it is what it is; and being drunk lets me forget im a diabetic. and im down with that.  id stay drunk the rest of my life if i didnt have to go to work in the morning.


(aimeelb15) #15

Hi. I have had type1 for 20 years and also enjoy a drink or 10 occasionally. I am also a nursing student and recently did a teaching project for a group of adolescents with type 1. I did some research on drinking alcohol with diabetes and found the reason for hypoglycemia. The liver produces and releases glucagon in response to low blood sugars, even in a diabetic. When alcohol is consumed the liver is overwhelmed with metabolizing the alcohol, which it views as a toxin. While it is busy doing this, it can't release glucagon to control the hypoglycemia so blood sugars that may normally be going a little low are now going to plummit quickly. If you are drunk it is also more difficult to wake up and recognize a low blood sugar. When I was 18 I had gone out drinking and went to bed. My mom, who never woke me up or checked on me in the morning, had a weird instinct and checked on me only to find I was unconscious. I woke up to find paramedics in my room! So, the moral of the story is not necessarily to not drink, but to eat a good meal, test blood sugars before passing out, and eat a snack before bed. I would not bolus a moderately high blood sugar after drinking. Hope this helps.