Alcoholic drinks affect diabetes in very different ways. This is what you have to keep in mind to drink safely.
Can you drink alcohol if you are diabetic? The quick answer is yes. But before you start drinking you must be informed about how alcohol can affect you and your glucose. This is what you have to do if you want to drink alcohol, and you’ve diabetes.
Without being hungry
Eat something with slow carbs before drinking alcohol. It’s not just that alcohol will get you drunk much faster if you have an empty stomach. Otherwise, this will help the alcohol to better process and avoid hypoglycemia.
And always carry something to eat with you when you drink. Glucose tablets, a snack… Do not forget that glucagon will not help if you get a hypo drinking alcohol!
What kind of alcoholic drink?
The drink you choose can greatly influence your night. Each drink will affect your body differently. This is because alcohol alone inhibits the release of glucose, which can cause hypoglycemia. However, the sugar and carbohydrates in many drinks can make your sugar go up.
So depending on how fast you process the drink, the two extremes can happen. Make sure you know what type of drink you’re drinking and how many carbohydrates it contains. For example, distilled drinks like gin have very few carbohydrates and are easy to count. However, they’ve the disadvantage of having a very high alcohol content that makes you more likely to drink too much.
Measure, measure and retest your glucose!
Before, during and after drinking alcohol, don’t forget to measure your glucose. Alcohol does weird things in your body with glucose, and it can get out of control. That’s why you should measure your sugar and record it in Cori so that you can monitor glucose drops and unexpected highs.
Talk to your doctor
Your endocrinologist will be the person who can best help you drink alcohol safely. Tell him what medication you’re taking and what insulin you usually take. This is important to keep in mind, as some medications don’t allow the consumption of alcohol. It will also be able to help you on how to modify your insulin doses and probably reduce your basal dose.
With friends is better
Always be accompanied by someone who knows you’ve diabetes and knows how to identify its symptoms. If you’ve hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, they will know how to identify what’s happening to you, and they’ll be able to help you. Don’t forget to remind them that the symptoms of hypoglycemia are very similar to those of being drunk, such as sleepiness and disorientation.
It’s important for everyone, not only if you live with diabetes, to drink a glass of water for each drink as it helps to dilute the alcohol in the blood. And it will prevent you from having a terrible hangover the next day. If you drink sugary drinks like fruit liqueur, the water will keep your glucose levels from getting too high.