Alcohol and Type 1 Diabetes
As you get older, it is only natural that you may want to go out and enjoy yourself with your friends. Managing your diabetes and your social life can sometimes require careful planning. It is important that you try to keep track of your diabetes and manage it even when you are out and about.
When you are old enough, you and your friends may be exposed to a social scene that includes alcohol. It is important that you are aware of ways alcohol affects your body. You should look after yourself so you don’t put yourself in danger.
Potential effects of alcohol
In someone with type 1 diabetes, alcohol can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)—particularly later at night after drinking but also for up to 24 hours after drinking.
However, blood sugar may initially rise after drinking alcohol, especially if you are drinking an alcoholic beverage that is mixed with fruit juices or regular soda, beer, or sweet wine, as these can be loaded with carbohydrates.
It is important to realize that:
- Drinking too much can impair your ability to recognize and manage hypoglycemia
- Alcohol can mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia; people may think you have had too much to drink when you are actually suffering from severe hypoglycemia
- When you have been drinking, it can impair your judgment, so you may forget to take your insulin or forget to eat before you go to bed
If you feel that you must drink, talk to your diabetes care team first.