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Diabetes and Alcoholism: A Deadly Mix

As a child, Jeff was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Learning to care for his diabetes was hard for him. In his teens, he began drinking. He thought it helped him cope with the burden of managing his condition. But in reality, it made his condition worse. In time, he became addicted to alcohol.

Jeff was headed for disaster. Luckily, cheap super p force he recognized that he had a problem and got help for his alcoholism. At the same time, he worked harder to manage his diabetes. Jeff probably would not be alive today if he had stayed on his dangerous course.

The combination of alcoholism and diabetes can be a deadly mix. If you need insulin or oral diabetes pills, this is especially true.

Diabetes, alcohol and your liver

Normally, when your blood sugar levels drop, your liver releases glucose into your blood. This helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels. But when you've had alcohol, the liver works differently. It treats the alcohol as a poison. Its first priority is to clear it from your system. The job of releasing glucose gets moved to the back burner. This can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Heavy drinking can damage your liver. When you have diabetes, this is especially dangerous because your liver's ability to process glucose is already impaired. Alcoholism and diabetes are hard to control individually. Paired together, they can increase your health risks dramatically.

When you have both diabetes and alcoholism, there can be serious health consequences, including:

  • Nerve damage
  • Seizures
  • Liver damage
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Fatal cardiac arrhythmia
  • Hypoglycemic coma
  • Death from a hypoglycemic reaction

Hypoglycemia

Many people with diabetes have had hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) at some time. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include:

  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Clumsiness
  • Pale skin
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Tingling around the mouth

These symptoms can also be seen with other life-threatening medical conditions. Call 9-1-1 right away if there is any confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, changes in behavior or loss of consciousness.

If you start to feel like your blood sugar is getting too low, check your blood glucose level if you can do so very quickly. Otherwise, just treat yourself right away. Always have some form of sugar with you. Keep glucose tablets, hard candy or even a tube of icing with you to treat your condition quickly.

Unfortunately, if you've been drinking alcohol, your judgment can become impaired. If you're under the influence, you may not remember to monitor your blood sugar or pay attention to what you eat. Low blood sugar and intoxication can have similar symptoms. This means you - or others around you - may not recognize an episode of hypoglycemia.

Some people who abuse alcohol drink alone. If they do not recognize that they are experiencing low blood sugar, they may pass out or have a seizure. This can lead to coma or death.

Getting help and finding support

It is not easy to control alcoholism or diabetes without support. The most popular support group for alcoholism is Alcoholics Anonymous. You can find a meeting by going to www.alcoholics-anonymous.org. Diabetes support groups can be found through the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.

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