I am a Type 1 Diabetic. All of the info given to me about alcohol is very vague. I do want to drink, and I don’t plan on getting drunk or smashed, but I want to have fun. Any tips or general advice??
I was a drinker before I was diabetic, I was in college its part of the experience, lol. Stay away from fruity drinks, they are filled with sugar and its hard to determine how to regulate that. If you do drink one try to limit to just one. Light (vodka, any clear) alcohol has less sugar than dark. If you take shots of alcohol that is, EAT!!! one to avoid getting a hang over and two because it will drop your BG. I love to take shots of Patron but I know I need to eat if I do it especially because most likely when your drinking your dancing, the pair go hand and hand. Be careful of jello shots also they seem innocent but they are not! It hits your bloodstream fast which is just like taking two regular drinking shots at once. Beer will prob increase your BG so watch out for that. Also the next day after drinking try to drink as much water as possible to rehydrate your body. Alcohol is a dehydrator.
You can still drink so do not let anyone tell you different but you will have to be more responsible and check your levels to see how drinking effects your diabetes…
Good luck and have fun!!!
Thank you so much Any advice helps!
Take it from one who was an alcoholic (6 years dry!) it is okay in moderation, even if you are diabetic, but there are certain rules that apply - and should apply to anyone who is wanting to have a drink.
Alcohol perversely reduces blood sugar levels - to the point of hypos. So always drink on a full stomach. Eat a snack before you go and check your sugar levels.
Only have clear wines or spirits - white wine, or whatever. Red wines and coloured spirits tend to have chemicals in them that either make you drunk quicker or give you hangovers.
Alternate an alcoholic drink with a soft drink or water and sip slowly. Take a sip, put the glass down. Take a sip, put the glass down … aim to let your alcoholic drink last as long as possible, and do not be persuaded to hurry up and get the next one in.
Another way to make it last and reduce the damage is to use water or mixers to make the drink last longer.
Keep snacking, keep checking your sugar levels. It is quite easy for you to forget what you are doing in the heat of the moment.
Take enough money with you specifically for a taxi or other transport home or more snacks and drinks. You could ring the taxi company and ask them how much the fare might be.
Wear a piece of identity jewellery stating that you are diabetic, otherwise people might presume that because you smell of alcohol you are drunk, even though you might be suffering from diabetic symptoms.
Keep testing. I know I have mentioned it before.
When you get home, take time to have a very long drink of water and a snack. Your sugars might be up to begin with, but during the night you could end up with a crashing fall.
Drink sensibly and enjoy your night out. Everything in moderation.
You can have fun without alcohol. Watch everyone else falling around and making a fool of themselves!
Your body and especially the brain is fueled by glucose. The liver acts like a huge deposit of glucose. It will release micro amounts of glucose between the meals to make sure your needs are covered. For these micro amounts you need your basal insulin. The dosage of basal insulin is fine tuned to exactly match the glucose released by the liver. Thus your basal insulin will keep your BG steady if you are fasting.
Alcohol pretty much messes with this balance. Alcohol is poison for the body and the liver shows a survival reaction to this poisoning. This means that the glucose delivery will be immediatly stopped because the detoxication has #1 priority. The problem is that your basal insulin is still acting and this can lead to a low that develops slowly. Thus I would never recommed drinks like Wodka or something that high in alcohol. Instead additional carbs (beer, fruit drinks with alcohol, sweeter wine) can be benefitial to compensate the lack in glucose production from the liver. Even if you start drinking with a higher BG you will likely see the BG drop later (from dancing etc). This tendency to be more on the low side will prolong up to the next morning. In my personal experience I will expect to go low more than 5 hours later. This is part of the recovery process of the liver that seems to consume carbs too.
The most unpleasant side effect of alcohol is the - of course wanted - intoxication of the nervous system. This makes it very hard to distinguish between being drunk and being low. For a very experienced diabetic this is just unpleasant and a not very relaxing situation - pretty much the contrast of what was intended for a night with drinking and fun. I think there is a balance that must be found. I prefer to drink sweet wine in moderation and can have a really good time. To avoid trouble I recommend to drink in moderation too. Just think of the trouble your friends will have if you pass out. Is she drunk? Is it related to her diabetes? Another good advice is to increase your testing frequency to catch lows early - and remember to still have fun!
Make sure you have someone with you that understands that being low can have the same effects as being drunk. Tell them if you pass out, not to “assume” you passed out because you were drinking that it could be because of your BS. If you have one of those alarm watches, I would use it to remind yourself to test frequently, especially since this is your first time drinking & you won’t know what to expect. To be on the safe side, run your BS a little higher than normal. Most of all, have fun & enjoy your birthday!
Eat before you go drinking sandwich or a banana and at the end of the night eat something if not drink sweet drink if you do not want to eat. The next day usually will have hypos, so you need to eat carbohydrates to maintain blood sugar levels. I drank way too much when i was in my twenties, oh and get to understand when you have had enough to drink and try and drink water while you are drinking. And have fun xx
Going low the next day will depend on her body and what she drinks - I am always high the next day.
Go out with friends who care about you and want to have a good time. Avoid “friends” who are out just to get you trashed for their enjoyment.
stick to something like rum and diet coke… it’s innocent enough but usually doesn’t affect your levels as much. Beer is usually very bad for BG in my experience. Just test a lot and you’ll stay on track. I would err on the high side if you haven’t drank alcohol before. Dealing with high BG is safer than going hypo and getting written off as a sloppy drunk on your 21st birthday.
You have gotten a lot of good advice here. The main thing I was always taught by doctors to remember is Drink Water! You must stay hydrated. The best thing to do is have a glass of water after every glass of alcohol. It’s a small thing to do but is a life saver - water. Have a good time!
I generally like to mix food and drinking and just bolus for the food and toss the booze in on top of it. I test a lot regardless of what I’m doing so that probably helps. I don’t notice my BG plummeting because of drinking when I do that but there are a lot of factors. I also mostly drink @ home these days (being 43…LOL…) so I get some beer w/ carbs (eg. Guinness= 9G of cabs/ 12 oz, I call those “draft cans” 10G of carbs and usually stay pretty flat?) and the newer “Ultra Light Beer” (Mich Ultra= 2.3G of carbs and Bud Select 55 is 1.9 I think?) and we have booze and wine too and just sort of mix it up.
I think that as long as you are comfortable testing regularly it’s not that huge of a deal, aside from the other hazards of drinking? Although I’m not 100% sure of the point of it if one isn’t planning on getting “drunk or smashed”? Which is, of course, horrible to say…
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light”
The old age changes whether you are planning on getting drunk or not! When I was in college, we would play cards all night each had our own bottle - I would literally down a fifth of Jack Daniels and go to my 8 AM class. Now, 2 drinks of anything and I am smashed!
i am a much cheaper date since I’ve lost weight too. I had a few occasions where I got carried away tossing them down like I used to but drinking @ 185 lbs is significantly different than 275 lbs!!
Actually, the best piece of advice I ever got from a CDE was to eat greasy pub food if you plan on drinking more than a few drinks–it not only has lots of carbs, but it has lots of fat so you get a protracted BG rise. Not usually a good thing, but when you’re drunk and trying to fight off a hypo, it can be a lifesaver.
Anyways I find that testing frequently, avoiding sugary drinks (not including beer), and not passing out are the three keys to success while drinking as a diabetic. Personally my new drink of choice has become scotch and soda, although if you actually waited till 21 to start drinking and this is your first time I don’t think you should start out with that.
I agree with the advice to stick to low carb drinks: vodka and soda or diet tonic, light beer, wine. (Or straight alcohol drinks, like whiskey, but that doesn’t sound like a good idea for an inexperienced drinker’s 21st birthday…). I can have one carby drink with a small bolus, but no more than one. Bolusing for alcohol makes me go low, and NOT bolusing for carby drinks makes me go high. So I’m with acidrock: snack a bit, and underbolus for it.
Especially if there is any dancing involved, I have learned to cut the basal on my pump down. I have also learned for ME to NEVER to cover alcohol with insulin (beer, drinks with carbs) outside of dacquaris - of which I will cover for about half of the carbs, or I will drop like a rock - I would rather correct the high later. YDMV of course. ALWAYS drink only after you have had some carbs on board in your stomach. Wear ID jewelery. One drink, one non-alcoholic drink. Have lots of snacks available…many bars don’t have kitchen service after a certain time. Remember, many of the lows from drinking happen several hours later. Make sure your friends know this.
Jennifer reminded me one thing I forgot about from back in the daze was that boozing it up is a very effective cure for Dawn Phenomenon spikes in the AM. I was sort of in the habit of dealing with this by shooting up and just waiting to eat for a while and had many hair raising lows because the “home grown” BG boost of DP seemed to be as impaired as I had been, if that makes sense? This gets back to frequent testing and knowing what is going on which is more part of my schtick these days but certainly is something to consider.
Have fun but be safe
I have been told by seeral doctors that I am a “strange” diabetic. I guess that would make me a Ts…lol. My body reacts differently to different alcohols. And by that I don’t only mean dark vs light. I react differently to beer than I do to wine and distilled spirits. Some booze will raise my BG some will lower it. Bottom line is, I have one and done.
Just understand that everyone has this disease affect them differently. There is going to be some trial and error involved just as there are with foods.
Stay sober and test often.