Alcohol and Blood Sugar Level

Alcohol and Blood Sugar Level

The problem with over-indulgence in alcohol consumption is not just related to decreased impulse control and a headache the following day. Alcohol ingestion can interfere with the healthy maintenance of glucose levels in the bloodstream-and cause blood glucose to precipitously rise or fall. In heavy drinking, alcohol can lead to a dangerous drop in blood glucose leading to a hypoglycemic reaction. Not only can this result in confusion and disorientation, but it can be life-threatening. For diabetics, alcohol consumption can increase blood glucose levels-leading to a hyperglycemic reaction and potential diabetic coma.

Diabetes and Alcohol Intake

There are interactions between alcohol and many oral diabetes medications, so individuals diagnosed with diabetes need to be careful in consuming alcohol. The primary contraindication for diabetics pertaining to alcohol consumption is related to both carbohydrates and sugar. Calorie consumption is usually carefully monitored in diabetic diets, and carbohydrates are particularly caloric. Additionally, a diabetic complication of high triglyceride levels can be increased by alcohol intake. As a blood lipid (along with cholesterol), high triglycerides have been correlated to a risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Alcohol as an Appetite Stimulant

One of the reasons that alcohol often increases the sensation of hunger may be linked to dehydration-a physical response to excess alcohol consumption. The "binge eating" that can follow imbibing drinks with a high alcohol content can add calories as well as increase blood sugar. This can actually promote the development of diabetes in heavy drinkers. In alcoholics, diabetes is often uncontrolled with consequent peripheral vascular damage. This can lead to poor healing subsequent to an injury-and leg amputations. The disabling effect of diabetes combined with alcohol addiction can severely reduce quality of life. Since depression is also related to uncontrolled diabetes, the risk of suicide is increased in diabetic alcoholics.

Insulin and Alcohol Consumption

Injecting insulin is one way that diabetic individuals control high blood sugar. While an occasional drink is not necessarily a bad idea for a person diagnosed with diabetes, the critical factor is balancing the intake of carbohydrates and sugar so as not to engender a high blood glucose level. The problem with increasing the insulin dose to counteract an increased ingestion of sugar is that insulin shock can result. Developing meal plans in conjunction with medication management under the supervision of a nutritionist is highly recommended for diabetic individuals. Poorly controlled diabetes is linked to a variety of complications, so it is advisable to control it as much as possible.

Heavy alcohol consumption and obesity are often concurrent risks to health. Not only diabetes but osteoporosis and other disorders are linked to heavy drinking and obesity. Decreasing alcohol intake may be a part of a tailored weight loss plan to improve overall health status and reduce the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.