How Alcohol Affects Blood Chemistry and Diabetes

Alcohol affects the body in many ways resulting in changes that can negatively impact some chronic conditions more than others. Not only can an alcoholic drink be a bad idea to mix with certain medications, but it can also change the blood chemistry. This can be life threatening to many people, especially diabetics.

Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to maintain a constant level of sugar in the blood. Drinking alcohol can cause blood sugar to spike high then plunge dangerously low, one reason why doctors recommend diabetics stop drinking completely.

Alcohol is considered a poison by your body and all efforts are made to excrete it. Alcohol interferes with the hormones needed to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Heavy drinkers deplete their glycogen stores within a few hours when their diet does not provide a sufficient amount of carbohydrates. Under normal conditions when blood glucose levels begin to drop, the body can respond by making more blood glucose or by burning up stored sugar, and when blood glucose level begins to rise, additional insulin is secreted to bring the levels back to a healthy range. In short, it becomes nearly impossible to stabilize blood sugar levels in a healthy range while drinking.

One study concluded that abnormal regulation of blood sugar is linked to an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia. Another study showed that 45% to 70% of people with alcoholic liver disease had either glucose intolerance or diabetes. In alcohol-dependent subjects, glucose may play a role in alcohol preference according to other research. The evidence is compelling that there is a link between alcohol use and diabetic complications and comorbidities.

Lifestyle changes are required by diabetics who drink, and complete abstinence from alcohol is suggested to improve overall long-term health. If you or someone close to you has a drinking problem, consider seeking treatment and do not put it off. Today is a great day to make the decision for a better future through healthier living.