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Diabetes & Alcohol: What You Need To Know

Diabetes & Alcohol: What You Need to Know

Diabetes & Alcohol: What You Need to Know

Alcohol should be avoided at all costs by diabetics and should be added to the list of forbidden things people with diabetes can’t have including sugar, pizza, thoughts about carbs, cake, and fun.
If you didn’t catch the flagrant sarcasm above, diabetes is probably the least of your worries in life. Drinking alcohol as a person with diabetes (type 1 or type 2) is not a problem at all given you are aware of how different alcohols and situations will affect you.
While we may have diabetes, we are not lepers cast away from society. On the same note, we do have diabetes so while we can do pretty much anything we want, we need to do so with proper education and preparation.
This is not an encouragement post to go get hammered or validate being a closet alcoholic. This post is aimed to provide you with the knowledge needed to have a drink with confidence knowing how to stay safe while intoxicating yourself. I never condone underage drinking or drinking excessively just as a necessary disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know.
How Alcohol Affects Blood Sugar
Some types of alcohol raise blood sugar levels acutely while some types of alcohol lower blood sugar levels. On top of the initial blood sugar response based on your alcohol(s) of choice, almost all types of alcohol have a blood sugar lowering effect for up to 16 hours (usually 8-12). Leave it to diabetes to make everything complicated.
It is important to know which types of alcohol affect blood sugar differently so you can manage your diabetes without ruining a good night.
Types of Alcohol & How They Affect Blood Sugar
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Type 2 diabetes is 'reversible through weight loss'

Type 2 diabetes is 'reversible through weight loss'

Many doctors and patients do not realize that weight loss can reverse type 2 diabetes. Instead, there is a widespread belief that the disease is "progressive and incurable," according to a new report published in the BMJ.
This is despite there being "consistent evidence" that shedding around 33 pounds (15 kilograms) often produces "total remission" of type 2 diabetes, note Prof. Mike E. J. Lean and other researchers from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom.
The thrust of their paper is that greater awareness, when combined with better recording and monitoring of remissions, could result in many more patients no longer having to live with type 2 diabetes and a massive reduction in healthcare costs.
The global burden of type 2 diabetes has nearly quadrupled over the past 35 years. In 1980, there were around 108 million people with the disease, and by 2014, this number had risen to 422 million.
The vast majority of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, which is a disease that results when the body becomes less effective at using insulin to help cells to convert blood sugar, or glucose, into energy. Excess body weight is a main cause of this type of diabetes.
In the United States, an estimated 30.3 million people, or around 9.4 percent of the population, have diabetes - including around 7.2 million who do not realize it.
Diabetes accounts for a high portion of the national bill for taking care of the sick. The total direct and indirect cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. was estimated to be $245 billion in 2012.
In that year, of the $13,700 average medical spend fo Continue reading

Is it possible to reverse Type 2 diabetes?

Is it possible to reverse Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition that can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease and blindness. However, it is possible to beat it into remission. The pancreas can begin again making insulin, the hormone that regulates levels of glucose in the blood. The liver can reassert itself as the body’s reservoir for glucose and stop pumping out unwanted sugar. And many people who have been taking tablets to control their type 2 diabetes can potentially throw them away. This is good for the NHS, because 5% to 10% of people have type 2 diabetes. However, to beat it, you would need to lose about 10% of your body weight – and keep it off.
The solution
In an analysis paper in the BMJ, Mike Lean, professor of nutrition at Glasgow University, argues that giving tablets to reduce blood sugar (the main treatment for type 2 diabetes) only addresses the symptom. “Virtually everyone with type 2 diabetes is two or three stone [12-19kg] above their ideal weight,” says Lean. “One of the great tragedies is that we’ve known this for about a hundred years and all the treatments have ever done is reduce the blood sugar – this is the consequence, but what drives it is the weight.”
Lean says the easiest indicator of someone at risk of type 2 diabetes is a fat tummy. A man with a waist over 91cm (36in) or a woman with a waist over 81cm (32in) could both be on the path to the condition. Another paper in Frontiers in Endocrinology describes a programme of high-intensity exercise as a way of preventing type 2 diabetes developing in people with risk factors. But: “You Continue reading

I Chose Type 1 Diabetes and It Changed My Life for the Better

I Chose Type 1 Diabetes and It Changed My Life for the Better

One of our Glu Ambassadors, Sandy Brooks, has been attended our in-person educational programs and been a big advocate for T1D Exchange for the past few years. Today she is sharing her very unique story of how and why she acquired type 1 diabetes.
I’m a “surgical type 1” person with diabetes (PWD). I acquired my diabetes through having my pancreas removed due to hereditary chronic pancreatitis lasting for 27 years. I had my pancreas removed and an autologous islet cell transplant on my 52nd birthday. I didn’t plan to have the surgery on my birthday, but it has worked out perfectly because it really was a rebirth in so many ways.
As a kid, I always had belly issues. My pediatrician called it a “nervous stomach.” This “nervous stomach” followed me through to high school and beyond. Things got worse as I got older. In my twenties, I decided to have this issue more thoroughly worked up. It took years to get a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis (CP) because with this rare, chronic disease, there are no blood tests to definitively determine it. Also, there is a stereotype that only old alcoholics get pancreatitis, and I had never been one to drink. Plus, where I was so young, no one even considered this to be the issue.
Finally, at 27 years old, I got my diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis and the stigma associated with it ensued. I was frequently accused of drug seeking due to my primary symptom being excruciating abdominal pain. When I gave in and sought help in the local ER, besides a little anemia, my blood work came back fine. The usual suspects of a raised amyl Continue reading

I Could Have Died From My Undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes

I Could Have Died From My Undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes

Literally. By the time someone finally listened to me and tested me for diabetes (my OBGYN of all people), my blood sugars were in the 700s, my heart was pounding, I was breathless, weak, scrawny and falling asleep sitting up. Knowing what I know now about Type 1 diabetes, why didn’t any of my doctors figure out that I had it? Or at least consider it after I kept telling them my symptoms? Some friends had encouraged me to go to a book store (this was pre-Internet) and look up my symptoms, and it was at that point that I began asking over and over to be tested. Finally, after a bit of harassing from me, I was tested.
It all started the first time I asked my MD to test me for diabetes and after finding an elevated fasting blood glucose, he said, “Oh you probably just drank some orange juice.” But I hadn’t, I responded. Another doctor told me that I “looked good thin,” just probably dieting too much. But I wasn’t on a diet, I protested. In fact, I was eating everything in sight. “Just drink more water,” they said, “you’re probably dehydrated.” But I was drinking what seemed like gallons of water that simply wouldn’t quench my ravishing thirst. “Get more sleep! Stop partying!” they proclaimed. But I was sleeping all the time, in between going to the bathroom, I might add. Nobody listened to me and at the time, I was too timid to protest. (My how things have changed.) The doctors I saw were condescending and dismissive. Here I was with every single classic symptom of Type 1 diabetes, except for one; I wasn’t a child, I was a 32-year-old adult. Huh Continue reading

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