WHY SHOULD I BE CAREFUL ABOUT DRINKING ALCOHOL?

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1 WHY SHOULD I BE CAREFUL ABOUT DRINKING ALCOHOL? If you have diabetes and take pills or insulin to control your blood sugar, you should be careful when you drink alcohol. Alcohol can cause blood sugar to drop very low. When you drink alcohol, you may not have the will power to take care of your blood sugar like you should. You may feel drunk and will not be as careful about: - What you eat - Taking your medicine - Checking your blood sugar Alcohol is high in calories and can make it harder for you to lose weight. If your triglycerides are high (a type of fat in blood like cholesterol), drinking alcohol can make this worse. 1

2 HOW TO CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR WHEN YOU DRINK ALCOHOL In general, it is safest to not drink alcohol when you have diabetes. If you do drink, here are some steps to help you stay healthy. Check your blood sugar before and after you have been drinking alcohol. 1 2 Your blood sugar can go up high in the first hour or two after drinking, but after about two hours, it can go low. If you drink more than 3 times a week, be sure your health provider knows this. It could explain your high or low blood sugars. They may want to adjust your diabetes medicine. 2

3 HOW TO CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR WHEN YOU DRINK ALCOHOL To help you keep your blood sugar on track when you are drinking alcohol: 1. Always eat food that has carbs when you drink alcohol, such as a meal or snack. Never drink on an empty stomach. 2. If you drink during the day, check your blood sugar every 2-3 hours. 3. If you drink at night, before you go to bed, eat a small snack of 2 crackers for every drink you had to keep your sugar from dropping too low while you are sleeping. 4. Limit how much you drink. Women should drink no more than 1 drink daily Men should drink no more than 2 drinks daily. One alcoholic drink is: A 12 ounce beer 5 ounce glass of wine 1 ½ ounce of liquor like vodka, whiskey, gin or moonshine. Sip your drink slowly to make it last. Use diet soda, or club soda if you have a mixed drink. Avoid adding juice, regular soda, or other liquids that have sugar in them. 3

4 BE SAFE WHEN YOU DRINK ALCOHOL! When you drink, alcohol can cause you to feel the same as a low blood sugar. - You may feel dizzy, weak, or sleepy. - Your speech may be slurred and your vision may be blurry. - It is hard to tell if it s from the alcohol or from a low blood sugar unless you test your blood sugar often. Wear a medic alert tag so that in an emergency, people will know that you have diabetes. Always carry glucose tablets or gel or hard candies to treat low blood sugar. Don t exercise while you are drinking. This could cause your sugar to drop too low. Never drive after you have been drinking alcohol! 4

5 IF I PLAN TO DRINK ALCOHOL, I CAN DO IT SAFELY. I CAN DO IT! I will check my blood sugar before and after I have been drinking alcohol to be sure it is not too low. I will be sure to eat food with carbs when I drink alcohol I will limit how much alcohol I drink to 1 drink daily for women and 2 drinks daily for men. I will always carry glucose tablets or gel with me to treat a low blood sugar. I will not drive after I have been drinking alcohol. 5

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