How Does Alcohol Affect Your Blood Sugar?

person checking Blood Sugar

For some, alcohol doesn’t cause much more than a hangover. For others, however, alcohol can become very dangerous – both in terms of addiction and in health. If you have a health condition such as diabetes, alcohol can affect your blood sugar, placing you at a health risk. Educating yourself on how alcohol affects the body is a wonderful way to take preventative measures towards your safety. Alcohol is considered a depressant – a sedative-hypnotic drug – that depresses the central nervous system.

Alcohol can interfere with hormones in the body needed to maintain blood sugar levels. A person with diabetes experiences either low blood sugar levels already or reduced capacity to produce insulin, and excessive drinking of alcohol can either lead to dangerously low blood sugar or reduce the overall effectiveness of insulin that is produced. Alcohol can affect a person’s diabetes because the liver must work to remove alcohol from the blood rather than towards managing blood sugar levels – if you have diabetes, always speak with a doctor before consuming alcohol.

Why would someone with diabetes or a related condition be of concern? One challenge that many with health conditions such as diabetes face is self-control. A study conducted by a researcher from Florida State University found that when glucose is low (ex. insulin is low or insensitive), a person may fail to exert more self-control over their emotions, stress responses, impulsive decisions, criminal and aggressive behavior, attention, and cessation of smoking. Conversely, alcohol reduces glucose throughout the body, impairing many similar forms of self-control. As you can see, alcohol does not mix well with health conditions such as diabetes.

If you’ve received approval from your doctor and you do decide to drink, do it wisely:

  • Drink only one glass of wine or beer, and don’t mix alcohols because they could have even more sugar
  • Never drink on an empty stomach
  • Eat a small, healthy snack before going to bed
  • Be careful if engaging in sexual activity after drinking, as sex can also lower blood sugar levels
  • Follow the instructions on your medication very carefully, and don’t mix them with alcohol if it says not to. If you’re not sure, confirm with your doctor.

If you have been struggling with alcoholism, make the decision to seek help today. Alcohol can be dangerous not only for those with health conditions, but for those who abuse it. Seek the help you need today.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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