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Hello, I have a drinker friend that has hypos and I am concerned. I didn't think you could drink alcohol when you are diabetic. I'm not sure how that works but I thought alcohol would make you hyperglycemic but I have people telling me that is not the case. My friend mostly drinks wine but sometimes goes a little overboard. On occasion she will have some bourbon and other times she likes to have a Screwdriver (orange juice concoction something). I know orange juice has sugar in it but I'm not sure about the other stuff. Does anyone know about this? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.



Hello There, It's okay to drink if you have diabetes but don't drink excessively. However, there are some things you can do if you friend goes overboard. Your friend is very lucky she has someone who cares and will look over her. Overly, it depends on what kind of drink you're having. Keep in mind that you need to have sugar (glucose) to make ATP to run metabolic processes. Now, your liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen (glucose polymer, many sugars attached to each other). This is for when you are not eating and need to sugar to make energy (in between meals). When you body needs more glucose, the liver breaks down the glycogen and releases single glucose molecules into the blood. This occurs during the day and when you are sleeping. This also triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas. The hormone insulin has the ability to bind cells and help glucose get into cells where it is converted into energy. One of the problems is that alcohol interferes with the liver releasing glucose bringing you to a hypo. This varies from one individual to another and only experience will tell you when you've had to much alcohol and will go hypo.


Beyond this, you need to consider what your friend is drinking. Is it just shot of hard liquor like say gin or vodka. That's just alcohol and water which contains no carbs. This will really make you go hypo if you're not eating anything. Beer, wine and mixed drinks can contain lots of carbs. It depends on the alcohol content, fruit juice and/or tonic that's in it. You'll need to see exactly what your friend drinks and how much and research on the computer to find out how much sugar she is taking in or not. Then you can count carbs together and make sure she's okay. In this case she may get too many carbs and go hyper and with hard liquor she will go hypo. Nevertheless, she will have trouble keeping her blood sugar levels within normal range.


If your friend insists on over doing it, make sure she tests her blood sugar levels every hour. If she approaches hypos then make sure she eats while drinking and/or before she goes to bed. Alcohol tends to generate lows in the wee hours of the morning and at breakfast time (fasting levels). And, these hypos can be quite low. Besides eating she can take her meds. It's okay to take basal but not fast-acting (that could be fatal).