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How does alcohol affect diabetes?
When you have diabetes, you need to be careful with alcohol. If you take insulin or pills for diabetes, drinking alcohol may cause low blood sugar.
Too much alcohol can also affect your ability to know when your blood sugar is low and to treat it. Drinking alcohol can make you feel lightheaded at first and drowsy as you drink more, both of which may be similar to the symptoms of low blood sugar.
Some people confuse low blood sugar with drunkenness, so be sure to wear a medical alert tag and tell people you have diabetes.
Drinking alcohol over a long period of time can cause damage to your liver, called cirrhosis. If this happens, your body may lose its natural response to protect itself from low blood sugar.
If you are controlling your diabetes and don't have other health problems, it may be okay to have a drink once in a while. Learning how alcohol affects your body can help you make the right choices.
How much alcohol can you drink safely?
Work with your doctor or other diabetes expert to find what is best for you. Make sure you know whether it is safe to drink if you are taking insulin or pills.
If you do drink:
July 1, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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