Diabetes and Beer

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Having diabetes can present many different challenges including what to do about drinking alcohol. If you are a diabetic who takes medication to lower blood sugar levels, you need to be especially vigilant about drinking alcohol. The interaction between insulin and certain diabetes medications can mean that you should avoid alcohol when your blood sugar is low or you have an empty stomach.

Short term hypoglycemic effect

Drinking alcohol can actually cause hypoglycemia shortly after drinking it and for up to 8 to 12 hours afterward. If you plan on drinking alcohol, you should check your blood sugar levels before you drink and throughout the time that you are drinking. You should also make sure to check your blood sugar level before you go to bed just to make sure that you are in the safe zone. That means that your blood sugar levels should be between 100 and 140 mg/dL. If your sugar level happens to be low, you need to eat something before you go to bed in order to raise it up.

Remember that the symptoms of having too much alcohol can mimic that of hypoglycemia. You can feel disoriented, sleepy and dizzy. Let those people around you know that you have diabetes so that they don't confuse a hypoglycemia problem with being a little bit too tipsy. You will need people around you and give you the proper help and treatment. Always wear your ID bracelet that tells people you have diabetes.

Don't let your diet suffer while drinking

Something else to keep in mind is that alcohol may get you off track from eating healthily. Let's face it; you probably aren't going to eat a healthy salad and drink a beer. Drinking alcohol allows you to let down your guard and can cause you to make some not so healthy decisions.

If you do choose to drink alcohol, make sure that you always have it with food. Women should drink one or fewer alcoholic beverages per day. Men can drink up to two. As always, speak to your healthcare provider to make sure that they understand your plans and can give you proper direction on how to keep yourself safe.

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