Sober living

The Alcohol and Diabetes Guide

If you can’t be absolutely certain about the underlying cause, don’t make a risky decision – transport to an appropriate medical facility. The body uses the hormone insulin to help glucose move across cell membranes, out of the bloodstream and into the cell where it is used for metabolism. The body closely regulates insulin and glucose levels so that there is a precise balance of the two. The carbs in most drinks tend to raise the blood sugar quickly – within an hour in most cases. Giving rapid-acting insulin for the carbs will help prevent a sharp rise in blood sugar.

  • One condition that will make someone appear intoxicated is hyperglycemia.
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  • Alcohol consumption can also lead to high blood pressure, hypertension.
  • It is important to note that while wine may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, it may not be safe to use for someone who already has developed diabetes.

“If you become hypoglycemic and there is alcohol on your breath, police or paramedics may mistake your condition for being drunk and you may not get the care you need,” said Dr. Roszler. Make sure you have an eating strategy in place to avoid overeating and over-drinking in social situations. Alcohol can make you more relaxed and may lead you to make poor decisions. According to the ADA, this can include glucose tablets or gel; 4 oz. Of fruit juice or soda ; 1 tablespoon of honey, sugar, or corn syrup; or hard candies, jelly beans, or gum drops. Restrain the combative patient prior to initial treatment.


To prevent hypoglycemia, don’t drink on an empty stomach. Make sure you have food handy while you are drinking and keep an eye on your blood sugar. Raise your heart rate, you might want to prepare for a drop in blood sugar.

These may be confused with or mask the symptoms of low blood sugar. Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines can diabetics get drunk and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations.

Your “drinking with diabetes” checklist

Some medications are not suitable for use alongside alcohol consumption. People with diabetes should be sure to pay attention to any potential warnings. Excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the effectiveness of insulin. Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles.

can diabetics get drunk

This article explains how alcohol affects blood sugar levels. It addresses some of the risks as well as some of the benefits of drinking alcohol when you have type 2 diabetes.

If you have type 2 diabetes, knowing the risks and benefits of drinking alcohol can help you make informed decisions.

Besides giving insulin to correct the high reading, try to drink water or electrolyte beverages that have low or NO carbs . After giving insulin to correct a high, check your BG again in minutes to ensure it is coming down. If your BG is still elevated 3-4 hours later, give another correction dose. Stacking insulin too closer together can cause a nasty low BG hours later. It’s no surprise that drinking happens on campuses all over the country.

  • This problem can be caused by things like antibiotics, diet, and gut surgery.
  • McCulloch DK, Campbell IW, Prescott RJ, Clarke BF. Effect of alcohol intake on symptomatic peripheral neuropathy in diabetic men.
  • As a side effect of this condition, people with diabetes may appear intoxicated and slur their speech, get confused or have trouble walking.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the effectiveness of insulin.
  • However, our blood sugar levels can go up and down based on when we eat and how our body releases a hormone called insulin.

If you have any questions about drinking alcohol and diabetes, talk to your doctor. Moderate alcohol consumption is safe for most people with diabetes.

Can Diabetes Make You More Drunk

For example, studies have shown that for people who have type 2 diabetes, occasionally drinking alcohol may slightly reduce glucose levels. 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.

can diabetics get drunk

Always wear a medical alert piece of jewelry that says you have diabetes. Alcohol may also affect your judgment or willpower, causing you to make poor food choices.

While the liver is dealing with the alcohol, it can’t convert stored glycogen into the glucose needed to keep blood sugar levels normal. At this point, alcohol can affect blood sugar in ways that are especially important for people with type 2 diabetes. This is because the liver is where excess glucose is stored in a form called glycogen. In fact, some evidence shows that many people with type 2 diabetes can safely enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages. And believe it or not, moderate drinking may even bring about some benefits. In one study of 275 originally potent diabetic men, heavy drinkers were significantly more likely to develop impotence during the 5-year study period than were moderate drinkers (McCulloch et al. 1984).

Why do people get diabetes?

Although not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight, obesity and an inactive lifestyle are two of the most common causes of type 2 diabetes. These things are responsible for about 90% to 95% of diabetes cases in the United States.

You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. If someone chooses to consume alcohol, they should have food with it and keep a close watch on their blood sugar. The bottom line is that any person with diabetes who wishes to consume alcohol should first discuss it with a doctor. Then, take notes on what happens so you have a reference for next time. The carb-content in an alcoholic beverage, Harris says people too often make false assumptions. If you should pass out, those around you need to know that this is a medical emergency, and not just a sign of intoxication. Alcohol can also affect diabetic nerve damage, eye disease, and high blood triglycerides.

This organ stabilizes glucose levels by storing carbohydrates and releasing them into the bloodstream between meals and overnight. It’s also the body’s detoxification center, breaking down toxins like alcohol so the kidneys can easily flush them away. A daily cocktail or two may improve blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity. If you have one or more drinks a day, you may find that your A1C is lower than during times you weren’t drinking.

What drinks are good for type 2 diabetes?

  • Chocolate Milk. This treat may remind you of the school lunchroom, but it's a good calcium-rich choice for grown-ups as well.
  • Sweet Tea.
  • Orange Juice.
  • Chai Latte.
  • Lemonade.
  • Hot Chocolate.
  • Apple Cider.
  • Energy Drinks.

Even for people who don’t have diabetes, drinking too much, too often, can be risky. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies define that as one drink per day or less for women and two drinks per day or less for men.

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