“The Association does not recommend that people with or at risk for diabetes consume alcohol if they don’t already…”
~ Dr. William T. Cefalu, Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer of the American Diabetes Association
Despite some of the recent sensational headlines, drinking alcohol is probably NOT a good idea for people with or at-risk of diabetes. Not only can so-called moderate drinking interfere with blood sugar control, it also significantly increases the possibility of diabetic complications.
Too Good to be True?
A recently-published Danish study concluded that drinking 3 to 4 days a week is associated with a lower risk of diabetes. Immediately, the media jumped on the story, running such stories as “Want to Avoid Diabetes? Drink Alcohol!”
While it would be wonderful if it were actually proven, the fact of the matter is, critics are already poking holes in the theory. There are three main criticisms:
- The study was “observational”, which means the conclusions were based upon associations, instead of proven causes.
- Researchers were unable to control for other diabetes risk factors, such as diet, activity level, family history, or obesity.
- The study did not take into account health complications known to be linked to diabetes.
Diabetic Health Concerns
Earlier research showed that among diabetics, the blood sugar levels of “habitual” drinkers was significantly higher than that of non-drinking diabetics. In addition, drinking can result in several other serious—possibly dangerous—conditions:
- Ketoacidosis—Caused by a near-complete lack of insulin, ketoacidosis results in nausea, vomiting, cognitive impairment, confusion, coma, and possibly, death.
- Elevated triglycerides—Not only do high triglyceride levels increase the risk of heart disease, they also cause painful inflammation of the liver. Pancreatitis disrupts insulin production, which in turn, worsens blood sugar levels.
- Cardiovascular disease—Lower levels of vitamin E, weight gain, and increased blood pressure are all factors in alcohol-related heart disease.
- Peripheral neuropathy—Described as tingling, burning, numbness, and pain in the lower extremities, this kind of nerve damage is worsened by heavy drinking.
- Retinopathy—Male diabetics who drink are at greater risk of diabetic eye disease.
- Impotence—Just 2 drinks a day can increase the likelihood of the diabetes-related nerve and vascular damage that causes sexual dysfunction.
The Bottom Line about Drinking and Diabetes
Any supposed benefits to drinking are negated by the many health issues associated with use, especially when the drinking reaches heavy or levels of abuse.
If you’re worried about the impact that drinking is having on your health, Lasting Recovery is a premier alcohol rehab in Southern California. Call today for a confidential assessment.
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