After a stunning holiday in Phuket, Thailand, I realized something was off. I had been drinking so much water but I brushed it off, thinking it was just from trying to stay hydrated in the heat. After dropping weight instead of piling it on from feasts of pad thai, I mentioned it to my nurse practitioner and provided urine and blood samples.
Turns out my blood sugar was 33. After I was diagnosed with diabetes, I had to relearn how to live my life, including socializing with a few drinks.
If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy a few drinks here and there. However, it's important to take precautions. Always drink in moderation and stay within the definition of moderate drinking (1-2 standard alcoholic drinks per day for males, and 1 for females).
If your physician has recommended that you abstain from alcohol use altogether, follow their advice. Quitting alcohol isn't necessarily easy—but understanding how it affects your diabetes may make it easier for. Before taking a drink of alcohol, consider how quitting will affect your health and how hard it might be quit later if you don’t begin the process now. By following these guidelines while drinking, diabetics can safely enjoy a few drinks without worrying about their condition worsening.
Living with diabetes often requires making extra-conscious decisions about how you take care of your body. This can include watching how much and how often you drink alcohol. Quitting alcohol altogether can be hard, especially if you’re used to having it in your life prior to your diagnosis.
Even though there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume when living with diabetes, many are still unsure of making the decision to quit because of how hard it will be or because they aren’t aware of how their health could improve after they make that change. Maintaining a healthy diet, incorporating physical activity into your weekly routine, and being mindful of alcohol consumption are all ways to get ahead of managing diabetes.
Quitting alcohol or cutting back is no easy feat. Although having only one glass of wine or one beer per day may help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, it can be hard to stick with this plan - especially if you have had a long-term relationship with drinking. It's important to understand how life before and after quitting alcohol could change and how the journey looks.
If you have been drinking for a while, you may already be keenly aware of how mixers, like sugary beverages or club soda, affect your blood sugar levels and how it all ties into your cardiovascular health. With the right awareness and modifications in alcohol consumption, each person has the power to improve their overall health in the long run.
Quitting alcohol is a difficult task and making lasting changes can be overwhelming.
Take on new roles
Role playing can be an effective way of preparing for how you'll handle difficult conversations regarding your changing relationship with alcohol. Whether you're dealing with family members, doctors, or other people who may ask why you no longer partake in activities that involve drinking, practicing the conversation beforehand with a close friend or counselor can help you approach these situations with confidence and security. Not only will it give you an edge on how to format and control the conversation but it will also help you prepare all parties involved for how life might look after quitting alcohol.
Monitor alcohol & blood sugar
It can be difficult to quit drinking when dealing with diabetes, as alcohol can have an exaggerated effect on your blood sugar levels, both low and high. Although having a beer or a glass of wine can help you unwind before bedtime, it is important to remember to have a healthy snack if you notice a drop in your glucose readings. Ingesting food while the effects of the alcohol are still present helps moderate how much it affects your body and allows you to recover quickly from any potentially dangerous troughs that could occur.
Bring your identification
Wearing an I.D. that states you have diabetes is an important step in making sure you get the help you need should a situation arise where someone mistakes your hypoglycemia for intoxication. Making people aware of your medical condition is how to ensure your safety in risky situations and could make all the difference between being taken care of and being ignored during times of confusion or dizziness.
Knowing the how and when of taking your medications can be tricky, and abstaining from alcohol may complicate the already difficult task of managing your health. Depending on your condition and how many medications you take, it can be hard to predict how alcohol will interact with them.
That’s why it’s important to ask your doctor if you have any questions about how—and when–to consume alcohol along wtih your medications. Your doctor should be able to provide all the necessary information for both quitting alcohol and how to balance taking medication with other lifestyle choices.
Moderate drinking is seen as two pints of beer a day for men and one for women. Keep in mind many craft beers contain twice the alcohol and calories of light beers. Before deciding whether alcohol consumption is right for you, it's important to consult your doctor, especially if you have existing concerns with the kidney or liver.
Be mindful during social occasions
Dining out can be difficult if you have diabetes, especially when it comes to moderating your alcohol intake. However, many people find that when they cut down on how much they drink or make an effort to quit completely, their blood sugar levels return to target range. This means that it's potentially safe for men and women to have up to two drinks at dinner so long as blood sugar levels remain within target range.
Experts highlight the risk of hypoglycemia due to how alcohol can cause a dip in blood sugar, even up until 24 hours after consumption. If your blood sugar levels are already inconsistent, it's best not to drink, and frequent checks should be made before drinking, while drinking and during the night.
Before you ask your waiter to serve a cocktail before your meal, remember that drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can cause hypoglycemia--low blood sugar levels. It’s best to drink alcohol after you’ve eaten something or at the end of the meal. Consuming alcohol with food also helps slow its absorption into the body, making for a less intense experience and even potentially reducing unwanted side effects like hangovers. All in all, having your cocktail on a full stomach can help minimize risks and make your meal more enjoyable.
Deciding whether you want wine or dessert is an important step in the journey towards better diabetes management and health, so take time to consider it carefully!
Quitting drinking can be hard, but how you approach it makes all the difference. Reframe is an innovative app designed to help you turn your relationship with alcohol into something more healthy and happy. Drawing on knowledge from hundreds of mental and medical health professionals plus extensive research, Reframe uses neuroscience as a basis for making evidence-based behavior changes that give you better control over how much alcohol you consume.
Reframe provides actionable plans, helpful tools and even a supportive community of peers going through the same challenges as you. Quitting alcohol using Reframe has helped many people around the world and it offers change without deprivation or judgment.