Alcohol and Diabetes

  • Alcohol moves quickly into your body without being broken down in your stomach the way food is
  • Within 5 minutes there is enough alcohol in your blood to measure
  • The liver wants to clear the alcohol quickly as it can’t release any glucose stores until it has taken care of the alcohol

ONE STANDARD DRINK – IT’S NOT MUCH!

  • 100mls wine
  • 30mls spirits
  • 1 can low alcohol beer 330mls
  • 300mls (half a pint) beer

HOW MUCH ALCOHOL CAN YOU HAVE?

  • 2 standard drinks for women
  • 3 standard drinks for men
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach – have carbohydrate snacks like bread, crackers and cheese, popcorn
  • Drink other things in between alcoholic drinks like water, diet fizzy, juice (will provide some carb if there’s not much food around)
  • Never count the carbohydrates from alcohol as part of your food intake
  • Don’t swap alcohol for food
  • You may need to have more carbohydrates at bedtime and less insulin overnight and the following day
  • Exercise lowers blood glucose levels and drinking may lower them further so it’s good to remember this if you are dancing as well as drinking

BE PREPARED FOR HYPOS

  • It can be hard to tell the difference between hypo symptoms and getting drunk
  • Have your meter, some glucose and carb snacks with you
  • Make sure your friend/s know you have diabetes and what to do if you go low and when they need to call for help
  • Wear your medic alert bracelet / pendant

RISKS OF LOW BLOOD GLUCOSE

  • Because the liver is processing the alcohol it can’t release glucose stores if your blood glucose level starts to drop
  • Glucagen injections are not any use if you have alcohol on board and go into a hypo
  • So you need to eat when you are drinking alcohol
  • Hypos can occur overnight or even as late as during the next day

CHECKING BLOOD GLUCOSE / INSULIN DOSES

  • Before you go to bed eat some supper (no rapid acting insulin with it) e.g. multigrain toast, banana, milk drink OR pop into your nearest BK or similar!
  • Reduce your long acting insulin by 20% / temporary basal of -20% on your pump, more if you have been dancing
  • Next morning check again and have some carbs for breakfast, may need less insulin to avoid hypo
  • Drink plenty of water or diet drinks
  • Watch for delayed hypos

HANGOVER / SICK

  • Decrease insulin
  • Follow sick day rules
  • Keep drinking plenty of water or diet drinks; drinks containing sugar if not eating or your blood sugar is low

TAKE HOME MESSAGES

  • Always eat some carbs when drinking
  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Always have some hypo treatment / snack with you
  • Make sure your friends know what to do if you go low

More on My Diabetes

school  living-with-diabetes.png  relationships.png  sickdays.png  tips.png   exercise  food alcohol.png    apps.png

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