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Alcohol and type 1 diabetes?

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by Chloelox, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. Chloelox

    Chloelox Type 1 · Active Member

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    Recently diagnosed, honeymooning like crazy, gave birth 2 months ago and I’m slowly starting to get back out into the world.

    I’ve started to take up invites for meals and drinks in bars.. but I’m absolutely stumped! This is something I’ve never really thought of! Before falling pregnant I didn’t worry about food or alcohol or going out with my friends yet now I really worry about the effects alcohol or a big meal could have.. especially as my BG’s are unpredictable!

    The most I’ve drank since giving birth was a small glass of white wine as my friend said it’s kind to the diabetes. But I don’t really understand it, can I drink more than one glass of wine? Is there other alcoholic beverages I can drink, or alcohols people recommend and others people recommend to stay away from?

    I really miss being social and having a drink with my friends but I worry about having a hypo and making a fool of myself by not fully understanding the effect of alcohol on my body now.
     
  2. MarkMunday

    MarkMunday Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Because alcohol is detoxified in the liver, t is not able to supply required glucose. This can cause a hypo, especially after going to bed. Eating something before bed limits the effect, which is different for different people. You just have to test it in a controlled way and establish how your blood glucose responds to alcohol consumption. I used to have issues with it when I was younger, but I don't think alcohol affects my blood glucose at all now.
     
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  3. Chloelox

    Chloelox Type 1 · Active Member

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    By eating before bed do you mean a meal with insulin? or a 15g carb snack?
     
  4. MarkMunday

    MarkMunday Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    If you have had alcohol and are concerned about going low after going to bed, a snack with no insulin should help prevent this. You need to figure what type of snack works best. Slow acting carbs, like fruit or chocolate give cover for a longer period. Eating something carby with fat, like biscuit and cheese has a similar effect.
     
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  5. Chloelox

    Chloelox Type 1 · Active Member

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    I find fruit to be a bit risky for my BG if I’m honest, I’m a big lover of fruit but stick to one portion a day now as I found even half an apple would send my BG skyrocketing with a heavy crash shortly after. I’ve experimented with other fruits and find them all to be difficult for my body to cope with. Chocolate on the other hand, once I start I can’t stop and before I know it I have a BG of 15.. I find carbs such as rice crackers and tortilla chips seem to last a long time in my system without a huge spike so I think I may experiment over the next couple of weeks.
     
  6. EllieM

    EllieM Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Three issues with diabetes and alcoholic drinks

    1) Carbohydrate in the drinks
    2) effect of alcohol on your liver and hence its ability to intervene to protect your body from hypos.
    3) It's easy to confuse the behaviour of someone suffering from a hypo with someone who is drunk.


    In response to point 1)
    I tend to drink dry wines rather than beer, which is just too carb heavy for me. But you could carb count for sweeter drinks.

    In response to point 2)
    A potential issue with hypos and alcohol is that if your liver is busy processing alcohol then it reduces its ability to secrete glucagon (sugar) when your blood sugar goes low, thus meaning that if you go low you may not get any help from your liver to pull you out of it. (Moral here, absolutely avoid night time hypos when drunk).

    Point 3)
    This can be a big issue if picked up by the police when you have been drinking, because they are liable to assume that your hypo symptoms can be "slept off" in a cell. (No personal experience of this, but I have heard stories.:))

    Some people just don't drink (well, it's certainly a healthier option), but others do, and in my opinion it's a question of being aware of the risks and deciding whether you want to take them.

    Personally, I've been T1 for 50 years and drinking for 40 of them, but there are some things that I am careful of.
    1) Always do a blood test before bed and make sure you're not going to go hypo at night.
    2) If you get so drunk that you are unable to handle diabetic stuff (ie blood tests and injections and noticing hypos) then that is too drunk. (Personally, I've been T1 all my adult life so when I started drinking I was already T1 and injections etc were already ingrained into my system. And no one had ever bothered to warn me that alcohol might be an issue with hypos ....).

    I would agree with @MarkMunday that you may want to try out drinking in a more controlled home environment before hitting the clubs. But on the other hand, if you are breastfeeding your daughter (assuming from the pink dress in the photo, and congratulations, BTW), you'll probably need to be careful with alcohol anyway....
     
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  7. Chloelox

    Chloelox Type 1 · Active Member

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    I have only drank a glass of white wine since delivering my daughter (thank you!) 2 months ago.

    I’m not currently breastfeeding and would never drink alcohol when she is solely in my care. My partner wants me to go out and socialise as I haven’t left the house since lockdown began (stupid Covid). So I’ve evaded all social situations until just this past 2 weeks.. I used to go out a lot with friends before having my daughter so would like to be able to enjoy that again every once in a while.

    I will trial at home when my partner is around so I have someone to help me if it’s needed, I am also trialling a Dexcom g6 and love the alerts (helps a lot when I’m busy out with my daughter or running her to appointments) but find the insertion a little more traumatic and painful than the libre, not to mention expensive.

    Thank you for the info! I will take it all on board x
     
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  8. kev-w

    kev-w Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    There's drinking and then there's drinking :p

    A few social drinks with friends shouldn't hurt but a 'session' can, I avoid alcohol as if I go out with the lads it turns into a session and even if there's no highs or lows the following days hangover conflicts with the need to eat, and if you visit the kebab van/KFC on the way home you'll find yourself waking with a nasty spike as who wants to take a correction dose when they're blathered.

    There's no reason why you can't still go out with your mates, trialling at home's a good idea and the Dexcom's an advantage but if out in a pub and drinking 'mixer' drinks be sure the mixer's sugar free, I find spirits to be a no-no and can lead to sleeping hypos if drunk in excess.

    Good luck :)
     
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  9. Antje77

    Antje77 LADA · Moderator
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    For me something like fries, tortilla chips, crisps before bed work well to make sure to keep my bg's up hours later, when I'm fast asleep.
    Usually it's annoying because I love snacking on crisps before bed but I found it impossible to inject for so I don't eat them anymore. With alcohol though, it's my safety net of choice :) . Only problem is not eating a half bag, especially after drinking :sorry:

    Between yourself, your partner and your Dexcom you should be fine, hypo-wise. Should you start to drop the alarm will wake you or your partner.
    If you feel up to it, make notes on what you drink, eat and inject at what times. That'll allow you to compare your intake to your Dexcom graph the next day to see where you can make better choices next time you go out.
    You will have hypo's while being social with friends, it comes with the condition. But please don't feel your making a fool out of yourself when it happens, you're not. If it happens you'll just sit down, test, treat the hypo and mumble something about 'stupid diabetes, give me a moment' to your friends, nothing foolish about that!

    Enjoy your beautiful baby, and enjoy your new freedom to go out without her and see your friends!
    Your diabetes won't be perfect when you go out but it doesn't have to be perfect all the time. Every high and low is a learning opportunity, not a failed grade.
     
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  10. JMK1954

    JMK1954 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Yes, unless you try out something to see the effect it has on you personally, you will never know what the results are going to be. Take it cautiously and always check your BS if in doubt. If your level drops, some orange juice should fix a hypo in a restaurant or pub. Have your glucose /fast-acting sugar in your pocket or bag as your standard back-up. Test and eat when you get home and record what carbs you ate and your results for future reference. You will get better at judging what to do with experience. We all do.

    NB. On a couple of occasions in the past, when my husband has ordered a Diet Coke for me, my BS has spiked to 18 plus mml by the time we got back to our room. It turned out the place had run out of the sugar-free version ! I always mention why I want the sugar-free version at the bar these days.
     
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  11. porl69

    porl69 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I find beers and lagers raise my bloods pretty quickly. I tend to stick to spirits with sugar free mixers my fav at the mo is rum and diet coke. Give it a try at home before you go out
     
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  12. KK123

    KK123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget though Chloelox, you would be doing this in response to having had a drink when the priority is to RAISE your levels following a night out but I agree something that raises you for a longer period would be best. x
     
  13. Richard F

    Richard F Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Usually 1/2 bolus with beer, I don't bolus for wines or spirits.

    If I'm drinking I'm aware and checking and if need be adjusting regularly, at parties tempting snacks are all too available. (anyone else have problems with peanuts?) Often normal at bed time, spike in the wee small hrs and normalised by breakfast. I drink more than I should but don't 'chug a lug' more sip over a longer period.

    After a major knee's up, new yrs eve for example, I'm always wary the following day.

    I think everyone's different, so it's a case of awareness.
     
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