It can be difficult to resist drinking alcohol when your friend wants to party on a Friday night, your family is celebrating a special occasion, or your colleagues want to have a cheer at an office party. But if you have diabetes, drinking alcohol needs some moderation as it can cause your blood sugar to rise. It doesn’t necessarily mean though that you have to stop drinking alcohol just because you are diabetic. With few precautions and careful management, people with diabetes can still enjoy a glass of a good drink. Here are few precautions you can do when drinking alcohol but still keeping your blood sugar levels in check to imbibe safety.
1. Consult your doctor
If you have existing diabetes and is currently on diabetes medications, it’s always “doctor knows best.” Before attempting alcohol, it is crucial that you consult your doctor first to make sure alcohol is safe for you. If you are on regular insulin shots or pills, alcohol consumption can cause decreased blood pressure. The doctor also knows how much alcohol your body can tolerate according to your laboratory results. Consider your doctor as an indispensable aid for you to live a normal life as much as possible. Respect his or her advice on your health and life depend on it. Remember that your doctor knows your disease more than anyone else does.
2. Never drink on an empty stomach
When you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, there is no food to slow the absorption of the booze. So it will give you a buzz quicker than if you ate. The alcohol is absorbed rapidly into the lining of the stomach and in the bloodstream which can cause intoxication or sudden hypoglycemia. So be sure to have a few high-glucose bites before sipping a drink.
3. Check your blood sugar levels
Only consider drinking if your blood sugar is within a healthy range and you are healthy to avoid untoward complications. So it is important to check your blood sugar level before, during, and after drinking alcohol. It is best to have a handy glucose meter. If your blood sugar is very low (below 70 mg/dl [milligrams per deciliter]), eat something to raise it before drinking. Also, if you drink before bedtime, check your blood sugar before you go to bed to make sure it is at a safe level (between 100-140 mg/dl).
4. Say Hi to moderation
Limit the amount you drink. The American Diabetes Association recommends only one drink per day for women and two for men. Moderate drinking may help increase your blood sugar but heavy drinking does the opposite: it can lower your blood sugar to a really dangerous low level. Binge drinking limits the ability of your liver to release glucose because it has to focus on cleaning the alcohol in your blood.
5. Be careful if you’re making love after you drink.
Alcohol and vigorous sex can both lower blood glucose levels but doing these activities altogether could cause a dangerously low level. So be sure to check your blood glucose levels before drinking and before engaging in an energy-draining activity in bed.
6. Choose zero-calorie drinks
Alcohol contains a high amount of calories. Each gram contains approximately 7 calories so just imagine how many calories you are taking in with one serving of beer. The high-calorie content of alcohol can really spike up your blood sugar levels due to depleting effectiveness of insulin. Avoid sugary mixed drinks, sweet wines, cordials, beer and heavy craft beers which can have twice the alcohol and calories like light beer. Try diluting wine with a zero-calorie beverage like diet soda and club soda to keep you hydrated like water.
7. Always be prepared
This is the most critical part. Always make sure that you have your medications in handy like insulin or glucose tablets. Make sure you know if you should take your medication or insulin before or after meals, at night or in the morning, with or without food, etc. In the event of an emergency, make sure you have a bracelet I.D stating that you are a diabetic patient or you may tell a friend about your condition and the warning signs to watch out for and the diabetic medications to look for.