Categories: Alcohol

Is There a Connection Between Diabetes and Alcoholism

Many of the substances that continue to fuel the addiction epidemic in our nation are actually legal. One of these would be opioid painkillers, with the condition being that an individual has to have a proper prescription for it to be legal. Of course, there are also many people abusing these drugs illegally. Another legal substance that is an issue for a large number of people is alcohol. In fact, alcohol is one of the most commonly used and abused substances in our nation, which may be partly due to its legality and social acceptance. This does not mean that it needs to be outlawed, but simply that alcoholism and alcohol abuse need to be more properly recognized and addressed. When an individual is struggling with alcoholism, it can bring about a whole series of other issues that arise as a result. For instance, alcohol use, abuse or addiction may contribute or exacerbate numerous conditions, with one of these being diabetes and alcoholism.

Diabetes is a very prominent condition within the country, with around 29 million people having it according to the National Diabetes Statistic Report of 2014. That number means that around 9.3 percent of the population has diabetes and around 86 million adults have something called pre-diabetes, which is a condition that increases the risks of actually developing diabetes. Diabetes is essentially a life long condition in which the body is unable to produce enough insulin or the insulin being produced is not working as expected. Insulin is a hormone produced within the body for the purpose of converting glucose in the bloodstream into energy that helps fuel our body. Those who have diabetes essentially have too much glucose in their bloodstream due to it not being properly regulated. Too much glucose can lead to a plethora of issues, including damage to various major organs, such as the kidneys, heart, and eyes. It can also increase the risk of numerous conditions, including strokes, nerve damage, cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, and blindness.

Types of Diabetes

There are actually two different types of diabetes. The first is called Type I diabetes, which is the less common form. It is characterized by the pancreas not producing insulin or producing too little insulin. Type I can be developed after a viral infection, as a result of an autoimmune disorder, or it can also be genetic. The next form is called Type II and it develops when the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the body is not able to properly use insulin that is produced. This form can sometimes be genetic, but it can actually be caused by lifestyle factors as well, such as physical inactivity and obesity. While these lifestyle factors can lead to developing Type II, it works conversely as well, meaning that it can be prevented by modifying these factors. Type II diabetes does not develop suddenly. According to Harvard Medical School scientists, individuals are typically in a pre-diabetic stage for some time before it actually develops.

Back to the connection between diabetes and alcoholism, there are actually several factors that can potentially contribute to developing Type II diabetes, including:

  • Insulin Sensitivity – When an individual abuses alcohol, it can actually lower the body’s insulin sensitivity.
  • Pancreatitis – Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to pancreatitis, which can then result in diabetes.
  • Weight Gain – As mentioned above, obesity can lead to Type II diabetes, and moreover, it is actually the primary cause of it. Alcohol can actually contribute to obesity in a few different ways. First off, many alcoholic beverages are full of carbohydrates and calories, which lead to weight gain. In addition, intoxicated individuals may choose to eat sugary or unhealthy foods, or even overeat. Alcoholics also often tend to neglect healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercise.

Alcohol can also greatly impact an individual’s blood sugar in a few ways, which can bring risk for the development of Type II diabetes and it can also be quite dangerous for those who already have either type of diabetes. Here are a few of the ways that alcohol makes it difficult to keep blood pressure in a good range:

  • Some types of alcoholic drinks can be very sugary, which can lead to weight gain and resultant difficulty in controlling blood sugar.
  • Various types of alcoholic drinks can contain high levels of carbohydrates, which can greatly increase the level of blood sugar.
  • Consumption of alcohol in itself can potentially lead to a drop in blood sugar levels.
  • Alcohol consumption can stimulate appetite, which can lead to poor eating or overeating.
  • Alcohol can affect or inhibit oral diabetic medications or insulin shots from working properly.

Home Remedies for Hyperglycemia

One of the most devastating effects diabetes and alcoholism is its potential to bring about hyperglycemia, or more commonly known as low blood sugar, which is more likely to occur with binge drinking. This condition is characterized by symptoms like nervousness, shakiness, sweating, dizziness, confusion, and drowsiness. Hyperglycemia can become much worse when it is not rapidly treated with glucose. When it gets more severe, it can result in fainting or even diabetic coma. One dangerous aspect of this situation is that these symptoms may be mistaken for drunkenness and then neglected as a result. Fortunately, there are home remedies for hyperglycemia that can be used to prevent it, such as:

  • Avoid Binge Drinking or Heavy Drinking
  • Proper Dieting
  • Do Not Skip Meals

The above should not be considered to be medical advice, as anyone afflicted with diabetes should always consult with their doctor. A doctor will be able to offer sound advice, medications, and recommendations for properly managing diabetes.

With the above ways that alcohol can affect anyone in general, it can absolutely raise hell on those who are already diabetic, when not drinking responsibly that is. Moderate consumption of alcohol can potentially have some benefits in certain cases. Studies have shown that moderate consumption of alcohol can actually be beneficial for the heart and even reduce the risk of heart disease. This can also be the case for diabetics, but only when their blood sugar is under proper control and they do not have other conditions that could be exacerbated by alcohol consumption, such as high blood pressure. Moderate consumption is generally defined as no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one a day for women, but this measurement also depends on the type of alcohol and its strength. Those who have diabetes should consult with their doctor as far as the safe limits of drinking with diabetes and alcoholism.

When Seeking Treatment for Diabetes and Alcoholism

Struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be extremely hellacious, but it can be overcome through proper treatment and that is just what Best Drug Rehabilitation is here to help you find. We recommend multiple modalities, which allows you to craft an individualized program. Every single case of addiction is unique in many ways and that is what we base our referrals around. We help thousands to overcome addiction every year and would like to do the same for you or your loved one. Give us a call today and we can answer any questions that you may have regarding diabetes and alcoholism or our services.

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