Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. In the US alone, over 140,000 people die from excessive alcohol use – 380 deaths per day. In 2020, opioid-related deaths only surpassed alcohol deaths by seven percent. These numbers place alcohol as the third-leading preventable cause of death in the country. Glucagon kits, widely used to treat hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes, do not work as well if someone has alcohol in their system. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) unawareness occurs when someone with diabetes has a drop in blood sugar but doesn’t recognize the symptoms.

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Who Should Not Drink Alcohol?

Normal fasting blood sugar levels should be in the range of 70–100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). People who have untreated diabetes generally Facing Your Powerlessness in Addiction Recovery have blood sugar levels higher than 126 mg/dl. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much alcohol is safe for you to drink.

Ketoacidosis, which occurs primarily in diabetics, is a condition characterized by excessive levels of certain acids called ketone bodies (e.g., acetone, acetoacetate, and β-hydroxybutyrate) in the blood. Elevated levels of those compounds can cause nausea, vomiting, impaired mental functioning, coma, and even death. Ketoacidosis is caused by complete or near-complete lack of insulin and by excessive glucagon levels.

Diabetes and Alcohol: Do They Mix?

Even for people who don’t have diabetes, drinking too much, too often, can be risky. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies define that as one drink per day or less for women and two drinks per day or less for men. Drinking alcohol in moderation has also been linked to a number of other health benefits, such as increasing the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. This may help lower the risk of heart disease, which you’re at greater risk for if you have type 2 diabetes. The increase in blood sugar levels gives way to hyperglycemia, or too-high blood sugar.

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