Alcohol and diabetes

Since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a month ago, my social life has been a bit limited (I haven’t really felt that social). Now my husband’s birthday is coming up and I plan on going out with a few friends to celebrate this weekend. I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments in my life since diabetes began, but I kind of want to kick back and relax and have a few drinks with my friends. I’m really nervous about alcohol and diabetes though – even though my endo said that it should not be a problem (she was a bit cagey though as I think she didn’t want to openly condone my consuming alcohol).

How do you all manage your blood sugars when you drink? I’d like to have a good time, but I also want to be safe (and I have no intention of drinking to the point where people might confuse hypoglycemia with drunken behavior, i.e. i don’t plan on getting drunk).

Hi Laura,
You have a very valid question. I really think that alcohol affects each of us differently. Before becoming diabetic I used to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine when having dinner out or with friends. I also liked to have a beer with a couple of shots of my favorite tequila at one special party during the year. I wouldn’t say I drank a lot, but those were my splurges until around Christmas time and the New Year. Now I have to be very careful. I may drink one glass of wine or maybe one or two light beers, but the key is to keep checking your blood sugar. The beer makes me go high and the wine drops me down low. I can’t expalin why, but my advice to you is keep checking your blood sugars. I have had one partial glass of red wine this year and it dropped me like a rock. If I am not sure, I check every 15 minutes. If I am more relaxed in the way I feel, I check every 30 minutes, but not less than that. My son advised me that if I was in a party situation where people were buying me shots and I couldn’t handle them, to keep a tall cup of crushed ice with me at all times. He said to just accept the shot graciously and tell them you cannot have any more. Then when they aren’t looking, just dump the shot into the ice This has worked out well for me. I have been so grateful to have other diabetics to help me learn how to handle different things. If you learn something else about this would you please come back to let us know. I would sure appreciate it.

I’ll also chime in that if you have more than 2 or so drinks, make sure your blood sugar level is higher than normal at bedtime. I find that I’m usually 20-30 points lower the morning after, even when I cut my overnight basals in half. If you pump, maybe just turn your basals almost all the way down rather than go to bed high.

But do check and check often. My first weekend of drinking (was in Puerto Vallarta for an old friend’s wedding) I probably checked every 15 minutes. I was constantly high and didn’t realize I wasn’t dosing for the Coronas.

Hi Laura,

My endo is pretty lenient with the alcohol thing. He advises to eat whilst drinking, and check every 15 minutes to half an hour. I pump, so I do also cut back on basal for a couple of hours. It is totally dependent on what you are drinking and your own system. It takes a little while to get used to it, but once you do you can relax a little and have a great time.