What to Know About Diabetes and Heavy Drinking

Today is Diabetes Association Alert Day, hosted each year by the American Diabetes Association to bring awareness of diabetes, a public health issue that affects millions of Americans each day.

As you may know, diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from the body’s inability to produce and/or use insulin. Diabetes impacts a substantial segment of the population. In 2015, for example, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

It is significant to note that individuals with diabetes who drink more than a moderate amount (one drink per day for women or two for men) can experience unforeseen problems. For instance, research from the Mayo Clinic has shown that alcohol use can aggravate diabetes complications like nerve damage or eye disease (Mayo Clinic).  

At Annum, we understand the negative impact drinking can have on individuals’ lives and well-being. We also recognize that many individuals with diabetes may not want or need to give up alcohol completely. That’s why we’ve offered up some tips that individuals with diabetes can use if they plan to drink:

  • Do not drink on an empty stomach or when your blood glucose is low.

  • Ensure you haven’t skipped a meal or aren’t hungry.

  • Watch out for craft beers, which contain far more alcohol than standard beer.

  • For mixed drinks, choose calorie-free drink mixers like tonic or soda water.

  • Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia shortly after drinking and for up to 24 hours after drinking. If you are going to drink alcohol, check your blood glucose level before, during and after you drink.

Hopefully you find these tips helpful. If you are interested in getting support in cutting back or quitting drinking, or for more information about diabetes and alcohol consumption, speak to your trusted healthcare provider.

Thanks for joining Annum and the American Diabetes Association in observing today.