Although many people boast that drinking alcohol does not affect them, alcohol can be dangerous to someone with diabetes. There are several good reasons why you should avoid alcohol if you have diabetes. When the stomach is empty, most of the alcohol a person drink is absorbed directly from the stomach into the bloodstream.
Normally, if the blood glucose level drops too low, the liver converts some of its stored glycogen to glucose and releases it into the blood. Alcohol, however, is given priority handling. This means that the liver will take care of processing the alcohol first, and then care for the low blood glucose level later. The result is hypoglycemia; therefore if you do drink some alcohol, you should always drink with a meal, never on an empty stomach.
Another danger of using alcohol is that one cannot accurately predict how soon a hypoglycemic reaction might occur. It may come very quickly if the diabetic has not had any food before drinking. On the other hand, there may be a delayed reaction, and hypoglycemia may not occur until as long as 36 hours after drinking.
Alcohol by itself contains calories. When combined with a sweetened mixer, even more calories are added. If you are trying to control your diet, you definitely need to take these calories into consideration. Because alcohol is digested like a fat in the body, it should be treated as fat exchanges in the diet planning.
In poorly controlled diabetes, alcohol can also raise the blood sugar level. Besides that, diabetics taking oral medications may feel sick because alcohol sometimes blocks the ability of the medication to work properly.
A person who has been drinking does not always think as clearly as usual. After drinking, he may forget to take his insulin, or he may forget to eat. At a party, he may forget all about his diabetes and eat a lot of snacks.
Even worse, if a diabetic has been drinking and then becomes unconscious, other people will probably thin k he is just drunk when in reality he may be experiencing hypoglycemia, or insulin reaction. At home, if a diabetic drinks too much before he goes to sleep, he is also in danger of a reaction. That is why alcohol is such a danger with diabetes. A person may get drunk, sleep because of a reaction and die.
Samuel Fuentes is a Filipino Registered Nurse from the Philippines. To know more about diabetes you may visit his site on http://www.diabetic.com.ph/.