It is not uncommon to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or to have drinks after work with friends. Alcohol consumption is very prevalent in the United States, evidenced by availability of sufficient data. The culture is same for Nigeria, as agreed by experts.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2014:

  • 87.6 percent of people age 18 and older reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lifetime
  • 71 percent reported drinking in the past year
  • 56.9 percent reported drinking in the past month

For many people, a glass of alcohol here and there does not pose a problem. For those with certain health conditions such as diabetes, however, alcohol can affect blood sugar levels and pose a health risk. It is important for them to understand what alcohol is and how it affects blood sugar levels

What is alcohol?

Alcohol is made from the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches. Fruits, vegetables, additives, and other by-products are added to the alcohol to produce different colors, strengths, tastes, and flavors. It is a depressant and classed as a “sedative-hypnotic drug” because it depresses the central nervous system. Every organ in the body can be affected by alcohol. Once consumed, it is rapidly absorbed by the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream.
The way that alcohol affects the body differs from person to person.alcohol

For an average person, the liver can typically break down one standard drink of alcohol per hour. Excess alcohol moves throughout the body. The amount not broken down by the liver is removed by the lungs and kidneys in urine and sweat.

Drinking too much alcohol can impair the body and lead to:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Unsteady movements
  • Blurred vision
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Shallow breathing
  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Passing out
  • Coma
  • Death

The way a person reacts to alcohol is also influenced by other factors, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Physical condition – heavier and more muscular people tend to have more fat and muscle to absorb the alcohol consumed
  • Amount of food consumed before drinking – food dilutes the alcohol and slows its absorption into the bloodstream
  • How quickly the alcohol is consumed
  • How often the person’s drinks – people who drink regularly are often able to handle their alcohol better than people who don’t usually drink
  • Use of drugs or prescription medicinesFamily history of alcohol problems
  • Health

Alcohol and blood sugar levels

A person’s overall health plays a big role in how they respond to alcohol. People with diabetes or other blood sugar problems must be careful when consuming alcohol.

Alcohol consumption can interfere with blood sugar as well as the hormones needed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Frequent heavy drinkers can wipe out their energy storage in a few hours.

Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the overall effectiveness of insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels. Many people with alcoholic liver disease also have either glucose intolerance or diabetes.

The normal fasting blood sugar levels should range from 80-100 milligrams per deciliter. People who have diabetes generally have a blood sugar level higher than 126 milligrams per deciliter.

Alcohol worsens the blood sugar state of a diabetic, with its attendant complication.

Source: MNT News


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