Is It Ok For Diabetics To Drink Alcohol
The American Diabetes Association recommends asking yourself three questions before you have a drink:
- Is my diabetes under control?
- Have I talked to my doctor about drinking, and do they agree that I can have alcohol?
- Do I know how alcohol affects my blood sugar?
If the answer to all three questions is yes, the ADA recommends no more than one alcoholic drink per day for women and no more than two drinks for men. It is also important to be mindful of the effects of alcohol on diabetes and drinks like beer and sweet wine that contain carbohydrates and may raise your blood sugar.
âThe best advice is to talk with your doctor about whether drinking in moderation is safe for you.â explains Dr. Lisa McAdams, Senior Medical Director at Zing Health, tells WebMD Connect to Care. âTell them when you drink, what you typically drink, and how much you drink . They will consider your medications, how well you manage the foods you eat, your exercise, and your ability to detect low blood sugar levels when they occur, in providing you with the best advice for your individual situation.â
Additionally, some tips for managing your blood sugar include:
- Avoid sugary and high-calorie cocktails.
- Have a meal or snacks with carbohydrates before you drink to prevent low blood sugar.
- Check your sugar more often than usual when you drink, and on the day after.
And in case of a health emergency, carry identification that says you have diabetes.
High Blood Glucose Levels
Consistently high blood sugar levels are part of a condition called hyperglycemia.
People with poorly controlled diabetes, Cushings syndrome, and some other illnesses often experience hyperglycemia. People taking oral steroids may also experience hyperglycemia while taking this medication.
Hyperglycemia normally develops when there is not enough insulin in the body, or when the cells become less sensitive to insulin.
Without insulin, glucose cannot enter cells, and it builds up in the bloodstream.
Common symptoms of hyperglycemia can include:
If the kidneys and liver do not work correctly, breaking down and excreting medication from the body becomes harder.
Excessive insulin production or supplementation can lead to hypoglycemia. Some tumors can cause low blood sugar, as they produce chemicals similar to insulin. A tumor may also consume so much glucose that it does not leave enough for the rest of the body.
People who undergo gastric bypass surgery might also experience hypoglycemia, as they will be able to take in less food than they were able to before surgery.
Nesidioblastosis, a rare condition involving the enlargement of beta cells, often results in an overproduction of insulin. Beta cells produce insulin in the pancreas.
What Is Blood Glucose Monitoring
People use blood glucose monitoring to regularly test glucose levels in the blood.
It is an essential part of effective diabetes control. Many people with diabetes must check several times each day to plan for activities and meals, as well as scheduling doses of medication or insulin.
A person can test their blood glucose levels with a glucometer. They usually come with lancets, or tiny needles, as well as test strips and a logbook to record results.
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Now That Youre Checking Your Blood Glucose What Do The Numbers Mean
Depending on your diabetes treatment plan, your doctor or diabetes educator may advise you to check once a week, once a day or up to 10 times a day . But what does it mean when you see a 67, 101 or 350 on your meter? And what is a normal blood sugar, anyway? Great questions! After all, if you dont know what the numbers on your meter mean, its hard to know how youre doing.
The American Diabetes Association provides guidelines for blood glucose goals for people with diabetes, and the goals vary depending on when youre checking your glucose:
Fasting and before meals: 80130 mg/dl
Postprandial : Less than 180 mg/dl
By the way, these guidelines are for non-pregnant adults with diabetes. Children, adolescents and pregnant women may have different goals.
Your blood glucose goals may be different, however. If youre younger, have had diabetes for a shorter amount of time or are not taking any medicine for your diabetes, your glucose goals might be a little tighter, or lower. Likewise, your blood glucose goals may be higher than what ADA recommends if youre older, have diabetes complications, or dont get symptoms when your blood glucose is low.
Bottom line: talk with your health-care provider about the following:
When to check your blood glucose How often to check your blood glucose What your blood glucose goals are
Can Quitting Drinking Help With Diabetes
One of the most significant factors in managing, preventing, or delaying type 2 diabetes is maintaining a healthy weight. Quitting drinking helps make it easier to maintain a healthy weight because alcohol stimulates appetite and contains a lot of empty calories.
âAbstaining from alcohol, even for about a month, has brought people numerous health benefits. Isolated, short-term studies have shown that some people experienced an improvement in their insulin resistance after quitting drinking for about a month.â Emmanuel Asare, CEO of MiraBurst, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
âHowever, there is not enough evidence to suggest that quitting drinking after developing diabetes is sufficient to entirely reverse or undo a diabetes diagnosis and the accompanying health consequences. The wisest course of action, rather than attempting to reverse symptom severity and systemic damage, is to take a proactive approach to monitoring diet, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and blood sugar,â Asare adds.
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Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If your test results show you have prediabetes, ask your doctor or nurse if there is a lifestyle change program offered through the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program in your community. You can also search for an online or in-person program. Having prediabetes puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but participating in the program can lower your risk by as much as 58% .
What Can I Expect During A Blood Glucose Test
You can expect the following during a venous glucose test, or blood draw:
- Youll sit in a chair, and a phlebotomist will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. This is usually in the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.
- Once theyve located a vein, theyll clean and disinfect the area.
- Theyll then insert a small needle into your vein to take a blood sample. This may feel like a small pinch.
- After they insert the needle, a small amount of blood will collect in a test tube.
- Once they have enough blood to test, theyll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the site to stop the bleeding.
- Finally, theyll place a bandage over the site, and youll be finished.
You can expect the following during a capillary blood glucose test :
- A healthcare provider will ask you which finger youd like them to use.
- Theyll disinfect your fingertip with an alcohol swab and prick it with a small needle called a lancet, which is usually contained within a small plastic device.
- Theyll squeeze your fingertip to form a drop of blood.
- Theyll place your finger/the drop of blood against a test strip thats inserted into a glucometer.
- After they have enough blood for the test, theyll give you a cotton ball or gauze to hold against your fingertip to stop the bleeding.
- The glucometer will show your blood glucose level within seconds.
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Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Checking your blood sugar levels often and writing down, or using an app to track the results will tell you how well you are managing your diabetes. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about how often you should check your blood sugar.
- Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their blood sugar every day. But some people may need to check it many times a day.
- If you have type 1 diabetes, check your blood sugar at least 4 times a day.
Usually, you will test your blood sugar before meals and at bedtime. You may also check your blood sugar:
- After you eat out, particularly if you have eaten foods you don’t normally eat
- If you feel sick
- Before and after you exercise
- If you have a lot of stress
- If you eat too much
- If you are taking new medicines that can affect your blood sugar
Keep a record for yourself and your provider. This will be a big help if you are having problems managing your diabetes. It will also tell you what works and what doesn’t work, to keep your blood sugar under control. Write down:
- The time of day
- The amount of carbohydrates or sugar you ate
- The type and dose of your diabetes medicines or insulin
- The type of exercise you do and for how long
- Any unusual events, such as feeling stressed, eating different foods, or being sick
Many glucose meters let you store this information.
Blood Sugar And Diabetes Risk
Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia. It is defined as a blood glucose level lower than 70 mg/dL . It can help diagnose diabetes or prediabetes .
Blood tests can measure glucose levels either while your stomach is empty or after eating . The tests cannot diagnose diabetes on their own, but they can provide the evidence needed to warrant further testing if diabetes is suspected.
|Over 125 mg/dL||Over 200 mg/dL|
Hypoglycemia is common in older adults with diabetes. This may be due to other health concerns, such as other chronic illnesses, malnutrition, or multiple medications. The risk of diabetes complications increases with age.
Hypoglycemia can also result from taking too much diabetes medication. Overtreatment is common in older adults.
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Language Matters In Diabetes
Words make a difference when youre talking about diabetes. Thats especially true in the context of blood sugar levels and how someone manages their health.
Here are some suggestions on language choices when talking with someone about their blood sugars and glucose levels.
- Try to avoid using terms like good or bad for higher or lower blood sugars.
- Instead, try to not tie value judgments to these numbers. Think about them as just numbers, in range or not, and pieces of data to help make a decision in diabetes care. Sometimes glucose numbers are too low or too high, and its helpful for the person with diabetes to understand why those glucose fluctuations are happening.
When Does A Person Need To Have Their Blood Glucose Measured With This Test
Prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes often have no symptoms at first. A person can have the condition and not know it. Healthcare providers usually order a fasting blood sugar test:
- As part of a standard annual physical examination to monitor a persons blood glucose over time.
- For pregnant women to ensure that pregnancy hormones are not causing diabetes.
- When a person has symptoms of diabetes, a family history of diabetes or risk factors for diabetes .
- When a person has had a previous blood glucose level that was higher than normal.
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What Does A High Blood Glucose Level Mean
If your fasting blood glucose level is 100 to 125 mg/dL , it usually means you have prediabetes. People with prediabetes have up to a 50% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes over the next five to 10 years. But you can take steps to prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing.
If your fasting blood glucose level is 126 mg/dl or higher on more than one testing occasion, it usually means you have diabetes.
In either of these cases, your provider will likely order a glycated hemoglobin test before diagnosing you with prediabetes or diabetes. An A1c shows your average blood sugar over a few months.
There are a few different types of diabetes. The most common forms are:
- Type 2 diabetes : T2D happens when your pancreas doesnt make enough insulin or your body doesnt use insulin well , resulting in high blood glucose levels. This is the most common type of diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes : T1D is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas for unknown reasons. Your pancreas can no longer produce insulin. At diagnosis, people with Type 1 diabetes usually have very high blood glucose .
- Gestational diabetes: This condition can develop in pregnant people usually appearing during the middle of pregnancy, between 24 and 28 weeks. The high blood sugar goes away once the pregnancy is over. Pregnant people have screenings for gestational diabetes with a glucose challenge test and/or glucose tolerance test.
What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Is High Or Low
High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. Here are some questions to ask yourself if your blood sugar is high.
- Are you eating too much or too little? Have you been following your diabetes meal plan?
- Are you taking your diabetes medicines correctly?
- Has your provider changed your medicines?
- Is your insulin expired? Check the date on your insulin.
- Has your insulin been exposed to very high or very low temperatures?
- If you take insulin, have you been taking the correct dose? Are you changing your syringes or pen needles?
- Are you afraid of having low blood sugar? Is that causing you to eat too much or take too little insulin or other diabetes medicine?
- Have you injected insulin into a firm, numb, bumpy, or overused area? Have you been rotating sites?
- Have you been less or more active than usual?
- Do you have a cold, flu, or another illness?
- Have you had more stress than usual?
- Have you been checking your blood sugar every day?
- Have you gained or lost weight?
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Blood Sugar Charts By Age Risk And Test Type
Blood sugar level charts | Blood glucose tests | Blood sugar monitoring | FAQs
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the main sugar in your blood. Blood sugar comes from foods you eat, and the blood carries glucose to your bodys cells for energy.
People with diabetes have high blood glucose levels. High blood sugar levels can cause complications like heart disease, stroke, and heart attack over time. It can also cause kidney, eye, and nerve problems.
If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider will give you more information about keeping your blood sugar numbers in a target range. They will also tell you how often and when to check your blood sugar and what to do if your blood sugar is high or low. You may need to make dietary changes and increase your exercise. You may also need to take medication and/or insulin.
The Ada Guidelines For Blood Glucose Control Are:
|After Meal Glucose Level||< 180 mg/dl|
*Hemoglobin is a measure of your average blood glucose control over the previous 3 months. Think of the A1c as a long-term blood glucose measure that changes very gradually.
Of course, these are general standards for everyone with diabetes both type 1 as well as type 2. Ask your diabetes team for personalized goals and blood sugar monitoring schedules.
When you have type 1 diabetes you are treated with insulin replacement therapy. The goal is to replace the insulin in the right amount and at the right time. Sometimes, more insulin than needed is taken and this will cause hypoglycemia.
To minimize this risk, many providers will recommend that individuals treated with insulin target a pre-meal blood sugar of 90-130 mg/dl and post meal blood sugar of less than 180 mg/dl.
Also, if you are experiencing a lot of hypoglycemia or have hypoglycemic unawareness your provider may suggest you target higher blood sugar levels.
In contrast, pregnant women or women thinking about getting pregnant will have lower blood glucose targets.
GET SMART ABOUT YOUR BLOOD SUGAR. CHECK IT REGULARLY!
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Tests For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Youll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes , your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar thats higher than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
What Is Blood Glucose Anyway
Blood glucose, or sugar, is sugar that is in your blood . It comes from the food that you eat foods that contain carbohydrate, such as bread, pasta and fruit are the main contributors to blood glucose. The cells in our bodies need glucose for energy and we all need energy to move, think, learn and breathe. The brain, which is the command center, uses about half of all the energy from glucose in the body.
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