Effects of Alcohol and Drug Abuse on Diabetics

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Effects of Alcohol and Drug Abuse on Diabetics

In a 2019 survey on drug use and health in the United States, more than a quarter of adults 18 and older engaged in binge drinking. Additionally, more than 43% of liver disease deaths in the U.S. involved alcohol.

Alcohol and drug abuse may have serious consequences, such as brain damage, high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, kidney failure, obesity, and a weakened immune system.

If you have diabetes, alcohol and drug abuse can adversely impact your blood sugar levels and body processes insulin. Results can be fatal.

Some individuals turn to therapy sessions, support groups, weight loss programs, or natural remedies to help manage symptoms and effects of alcoholism and drug abuse.

This article enumerates the effects of alcohol consumption and drug misuse on diabetic individuals.

Call now to ask questions about treatment for yourself or a loved one. Our helpline is free and confidential. Call (888) 906-0952

Reduced Insulin Effectiveness

One study on the effects of alcohol use in diabetes mentioned that alcohol consumption might further impair blood sugar control among diabetic individuals.

People with type 1 diabetes usually do not produce enough insulin in the pancreas, while those with type 2 diabetes have difficulties responding to insulin.

Persons with diabetes can take insulin shots to help manage the blood sugar levels in the body. In some cases, pumps used to deliver insulin are programmed to administer a specific dose based on an individual’s blood sugar level.

If you have diabetes and consume alcohol, dosage programming is difficult.

Alcohol abuse can cause rapid changes in your blood sugar levels, and the insulin pump may not automatically adjust the dosage.
In addition, too much alcohol in your system can prevent your body from metabolizing insulin.

Instead, your body starts to metabolize alcohol first. This situation makes your body focus its energy on removing alcohol from the system, causing the insulin to remain unmetabolized.

Diabetic individuals who are heavy drinkers may also experience other diabetes-related health complications. These complications include eye disease, nerve damage, and disturbances in fat metabolism.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

Diabetic individuals taking dangerous substances like cocaine are likely to have unhealthy eating habits.

When you are diabetic and dependent on drugs, your body may begin to require more calories to satiate your energy needs. This situation causes you to turn to carbohydrates, sugar, and fatty foods.

Substance abuse also has the potential to affect your body composition and nutritional status.

Drugs can cause this situation by affecting your nutrient intake, absorption, and regulation of hormones associated with satiety and food intake.

These effects may cause a person to have irregular or insufficient food and nutrient intake, causing blood sugar levels to decrease significantly.

If you have type 1 diabetes, having low blood sugar and insufficient insulin may cause your body to break down fats into ketones. These substances are poisonous to the body, especially in large amounts.

Ketones are usually removed from the body through urination. However, high levels of ketones may build up in the blood. This buildup may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening medical condition.

Impaired With Liver Functions

A healthy liver can metabolize over 90% of the alcohol you consume. The remaining alcohol is usually removed through sweating and urination.

However, your liver can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol at a time, depending on your metabolism. The higher amount of alcohol you consume, the longer your body can process it.

Alcohol that remains unprocessed continues to circulate in your bloodstream. Higher blood alcohol content can cause intoxication.

Excessive alcohol consumption may develop into significant long-term health risks, including heart and liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and digestive problems.

To mitigate or reduce these health risks associated with alcohol abuse, you are recommended to follow standard or moderate drinking amounts.

In the United States, a standard drink is a beverage with 14.0 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. This amount of pure alcohol is typically present in:
● 12 ounces of beer with 5% alcohol
● 8 ounces of malt liquor with 7% alcohol
● 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol
● 1.5 ounces of spirits or liquor with 40% alcohol

Increased Risk of High Blood Pressure

Cardiovascular diseases associated with type 2 diabetes are among the primary causes of death among Americans.

The connection between alcohol consumption and diabetes-related cardiovascular diseases has not been well established. However, studies suggest that consuming more than three drinks increases blood pressure.

On the other hand, moderate alcohol consumption may benefit cardiovascular health. Some findings suggest that consuming alcohol in moderation may help protect against cardiovascular diseases.

Here’s What to Do if You Have a Drinking Problem

Excessive alcohol consumption and substance abuse can cause adverse effects on your health.

However, further studies have to be conducted to determine the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on diabetic individuals.

If you have diabetes or diabetic symptoms, set an appointment with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The sooner intervention happens, the better!

Additionally, you must address excessive alcohol consumption to ensure that you return to optimal health.

If you’re concerned about your drinking problem, please give us a call today to discuss your situation.


[1] Alcohol Facts and Statistics
[2] Consequences of Alcohol Use in Diabetics
[3] Relation of Diabetes with Substance Abuse
[4] 5 Things to Know About Ketones
[5] CDC: Alcohol Use and Your Health

Now that you understand the risks of diabetic illness and alcohol consumption, don’t wait to get help!  Give us a call at (888) 906-0952

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