You probably know that keeping your blood sugar in your target range is key for managing diabetes and preventing complications like heart disease and vision loss. But did you know that episodes of high and low blood sugar can affect brain function? This is because your brain is sensitive to the amount of sugar it receives. People drinking on an empty stomach are particularly at risk of hypoglycemia. Therefore, eating food before drinking alcoholic beverages is essential. Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia more easily in people with diabetes.

  • People with alcohol use disorder who have poor diets are at risk of developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
  • Alcohol is known to increase risk of developing diabetes-related complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and nerve damage (neuropathy).
  • This organ stores and produces sugar according to hormonal signals from insulin and glucagon.
  • The two most common forms of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for at least 90 percent of all cases.
  • Alcohol consumption effects the brain resulting in difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, and impaired memory (Alcohols Damaging Effects on the Brain, 2021).

A characteristic location for focal fatty change is the medial segment of the left lobe of the liver (segment IV) either anterior to the porta hepatis or adjacent to the falciform ligament. This distribution is the same as that seen in focal fatty sparing and is thought to relate to variations in vascular supply. This also would account for focal fatty change/sparing sometimes seen related to vascular lesions.

Continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump

When an alcohol use disorder is combined with disordered eating behaviors, it can be a recipe for disaster. Drunkorexia is a term characterizing the replacement of meals with alcohol. If hyperglycemia is consistent over a longer period, then the sugar in the patient’s blood can cause damage to blood vessels and organs, which can cause diabetes. Therefore, the diabetes diagnosis is only certain when hyperglycemia is occurring regularly and the amount of sugar in the blood is above a certain level. All diabetic patients need to check their blood sugar regularly to avoid hyperglycemia and the health complications that it can cause. If you suddenly, inexplicably feel as if you’re starving, your body is signaling that it’s experiencing a blood sugar drop, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Clinical experience indicates, however, that a testosterone deficit rarely is the sole reason for impotence in diabetic men, because treatment with testosterone rarely restores potency in those men. Thus, both neuropathy and vascular disease likely play significant roles in impotence in diabetic men. Milk has natural sugars, called lactose, which can raise blood sugar levels. Just like whole grains, cow milk can trigger the immune system and cause inflammation. Sheep and goat’s milk are a better alternative as they have lower levels of lactose. For many people, having a drink or two is part of their daily routine.

Effects of Alcohol on Diabetes

Too much drinking can increase blood sugar levels and your A1C, which contributes to increased risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Alcohol is known to increase risk of developing diabetes-related complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and nerve damage (neuropathy). People who have diabetes are usually advised not to drink at all or only consume small amounts of alcohol because it could make their condition worse or lead them to develop complications earlier than expected. Severe health consequences can occur even with moderate drinking. Diabetic seizures occur when a diabetic’s blood glucose levels get too low as a result of an event such as using too much insulin, skipping a meal, over-exercising, or even drinking too much alcohol.

diabetes and alcohol blackouts

Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how much alcohol an individual can tolerate. An alcohol level that may have no effect on one individual may have fatal consequences for another, making drinking large amounts of alcohol a very risky business. Studies carried out by a California University discovered that individuals who had suffered a head injury at some point in their lives were at a greater risk of blacking out.

Blood Sampling and Measurement of Blood Alcohol Concentrations

Medical ID such as a necklace, bracelet or keychain will alert others that your symptoms of intoxication may actually be signs of hypoglycemia. And it may discourage bartenders from serving you too much alcohol. Knowing the alcohol-related diseases and disorders can prevent you from experiencing severe physical complications. Alcohol blackouts have been used in court cases as an excuse for criminal behavior. Individuals have claimed that they cannot remember committing offenses such as assault, vandalism, theft and drink driving because of excessive alcohol intake and blackouts.

Untreated diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to diabetic seizures, diabetic comas, and in serious cases can even be fatal. Over time, the excessive consumption of alcohol can contribute to several different problems and conditions. It can increase your risk for developing chronic diseases and serious problems that can make managing diabetes increasingly difficult. Some long-term health risks include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, and a variety of different cancers. Talk to your doctor to better understand your risk factors and always drink in moderation.

Also, alcohol interferes with blood sugar levels, so it is best to control consumption to avoid or lessen risks. BAC continues to increase until the rate of elimination exceeds the rate of absorption (Mitchell Jr et al., 2014). The BAC is affected by different factors such as gender, body weight, amount of alcohol consumed, how quickly the alcohol is consumed, and food intake (Dasgupta, 2017). Some studies suggest that different concentrations of ethanol in a beverage may influence rate of absorption alcohol and consequently the BAC (Roine et al., 1993; Mellanby, 1919; Mitchell Jr et al., 2014). In a study conducted by Mitchell and colleagues, the effect of different alcoholic beverages (5.1% beer, 12.5% wine and 20% vodka/tonic) on the rate of rate of absorption and BAC in a fasting state was evaluated. Beer and wine were absorbed slower than vodka/tonic, therefore BAC was the lowest after drinking beer.

Is any alcohol OK for diabetics?

The best types of alcohol for people with diabetes are those with a low sugar or carb content. That includes light beers, red and white wines, distilled spirits, and low carb cocktails, as long as you avoid sugary juices or syrups.

Dangerously low glucose levels can cause loss of consciousness, seizure or coma. Accordingly, more studies are needed to determine whether the beneficial effects of daily moderate alcohol consumption outweigh the deleterious effects. Diabetics clearly should avoid heavy drinking (i.e., more than 10 to 12 drinks per day), because it can cause ketoacidosis and hypertriglyceridemia. Moreover, heavy drinking in a fasting state can cause hypoglycemia and ultimately increase diabetics’ risk of death from noncardiovascular causes. When you start drinking alcohol, your blood sugar levels start to fall. This is because alcohol prevents the liver from releasing sugar into the bloodstream.