Ginger:It's pretty clear that drinking, whether you have diabetes or not-isn't safe. But if you're going to drink, let's think clearly about how to be as safe as possible.
Ginger and Dr. C:
- EAT FOOD WHILE YOU DRINK: drinking on an empty stomach speeds up the amount of time it takes for the alcohol to get into your system, the amount of time it takes for it to affect your blood sugar (first raising it, then lowering it by using that common metabolic pathway in the liver), and the overall impact it can have on your body's sensitivity to it.
- CHECK YOUR BLOOD SUGAR OFTEN: of course, this goes out the window as soon as you're too drunk to remember to check your blood sugar...but the variables are endless when it comes to drinking and diabetes, so the more often you check, the better you are.
- TAKE YOUR INSULIN: like above, you could easily forget this as soon as you're too drunk, which leads us to the next thing.
- DON'T GET DRUNK: Try to limit yourself to an amount of alcohol that doesn't leave you overly intoxicated. The key here is moderation. If you want to drink a few beers and hang out with your friends, you can do that more safely while still checking your blood sugar and taking your insulin.
- MAKE SURE YOUR FRIENDS KNOW to never let you just "sleep it off." Even though it's not their responsibility, ask them to remind you to check your blood sugar and to try to wake you up if they see that you've passed out. Of course, this also goes out the window if your friends are also intoxicated.
- MAKE SURE YOU ARE WEARING SOME FORM OF IDENTIFICATION so that if you do get stopped by authorities or are found by friends, they know you have diabetes and can call for help!
- DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE (with or without diabetes) and always have a designated sober driver.
- ALWAYS HAVE A FORM OF RAPID ACTING CARBOHYDRATE ON YOUR PERSON to treat lows.
- KNOW WHEN TO CALL FOR HELP: it's your body we are talking about.
Stay tuned for part II: Choosing NOT to drink-all the great benefits and how to deal with friends who continue to pressure to have a beer!