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Drinking with Diabetes

Discussion in 'Diabetes and College' started by lisalotsamom, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. lisalotsamom

    lisalotsamom Approved members

    Sep 18, 2006
    Hi, I'm the mom of a newly diagnosed college senior (22yo). He's getting used to this new reality, but has some questions about drinking and diabetes.
    His endo told him that he needs to be very careful, check often, and to not have more than 2-3 drinks, eat when drinking.
    He's in New Orleans this weekend at his fraternity's formal. He knows that his days of partying are gone...no more getting completely drunk. But he still wants to be able to drink some, and knowing he will do this, I want to make sure he stays as safe as possible.
    He likes light beer, and his favorite drink is whiskey and coke. Now he's using diet coke.
    Is it better for him to stick to light beers, since the alcohol content is lower and the carb counts easily available.
    Any advice from btdt experience is appreciated. I've sent him the link to this forum, so he may be popping in for some advice on his own. Right now he's in the "information overload" stage, since he was just diagnosed 2 weeks ago.
  2. Rukio

    Rukio Banned

    Jan 10, 2010
    I would recommend he not drink at all would be the safest route.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  3. Mistync991

    Mistync991 Approved members

    Feb 10, 2008
    ive found its very tricky and more of a trial and error kinda thing but for me lt. beer my bg stays pretty stable, wine it shoots way up and i need to bolus for it and liquor just makes it crazy and i dont know what to expect(only really had liquor a few times since dx so i think it may depend on what kind of liquor)...for me if i am going to drink i let myself run a little higher just to be safer (or at least i feel like it keeps me safer) and i check before during and after ...usually several times during if say im out somewhere to hear a band or something...its still a trial and error thing for me i would just advise him to be careful not drink to much and test often(btw i was dx at 27 just over a year ago)
  4. lifeofadiabetic

    lifeofadiabetic New Member

    Apr 6, 2010
    Be Realistic

    Of course people will give advice to not drink at all, but let's be realistic. A lot of people enjoy to drink at times, and that is fine. If he wants to go out and have a few beers, then why should he have to stop now because he has diabetes? Letting diabetes control your life, is not a good way to live with the disease. Properly managing what you do with your life, is an important aspect.

    Every person with diabetes is totally different, some people are affected by beer, some people's bg's don't react at all. I was diagnosed at 19, so I went through all of college with diabetes. For me, the way my body works is that I take about 1.5 units of insulin per beer that I drink, but that's not going to work for everybody, so he just needs to test more often when drinking to see what trends his body has.
  5. diabetesgurl

    diabetesgurl Approved members

    Jun 4, 2010
    I'm 24.
    I was diagnosed when I was 10.
    I was taught not to let diabetes limit what I would normally do (with a few exceptions) had I not been diabetic.
    That being said, yes - I drink, but i'm responsible.
    Everyone reacts differently to alcohol - like everything with diabetes, everyone reacts to their environment differently.
    So, with mixed drinks - commonly hard alcohol brings your blood sugar down, despite some of the sugary liquors (malibu, etc.)
    Fruity mixed drinks, make me spike.
    Light Beers, conveniently these have the carb amounts have the nutrition facts on the bottle, commonly run between 5g-10g carbs. For someone on shots, and just starting out, that's prob the best bet.
    It's really trial and correction (not error) and test VERY often.
    He may also need to make sure not to over do it, and make sure he's still in good enough condition to take care of his diabetes.

    Professionals have recognized that a good amount young adults with diabetes will drink, and have come to be more educational about the process. I have heard many say, test alot, stick with what you know works, and make sure you don't get past the point you can't take care of yourself.

    So in turn, I hope he has/had a great time in New Orleans - if you have more questions or he'd like to contact me, pm me and i'd be more than happy to answer questions --- i have two best friends with diabetes too, and we don't let diabetes stop us from doing what makes us happy.. otherwise, the regrets and "youth we could have would have had without diabetes" would haunt us for years.
    Good Luck to both of you,
    And most of all, make sure to be careful utmostly.
    Kristen :)
  6. actualreality86

    actualreality86 Approved members

    Nov 9, 2009
    I'm 24 and I was diagnosed with I was 13 years old. I believe one can have fun without drinking yes, but if he were to have a drink maybe one the whole time he's with friends? Or test even more often then he would prior to drinking. A good thing is to always make sure your doing carb in carb out.. For each carb that the alcoholic drink has he should be sure he's covering those carbs by something that will keep him feeling okay. If you look on youtube there's this user named 1happydiabetic and he has a whole blog on drinking/eating/ and Diabetes into one. Remember the important thing is that he stay safe, has fun and checks his blood sugar more frequently while drinking then he normally would.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  7. sarahspins

    sarahspins Approved members

    May 5, 2009
    I've only been "really drunk" once as a diabetic and it's not something I ever wish to repeat.. it was not fun, and it was very scary... I actually didn't drink AT ALL for about 5 years afterwards.. but of course having two babies close together and nursing both really helped with that.. but still, I probably wouldn't have any sooner anyways.. it wasn't that I was afraid to necessarily, I was just totally turned off on the idea. It took a "girls night" and a shared mexican martini (which is like 2-3 drinks in one) to break my dry spell, and that was only last summer.

    So, now I can enjoy a few drinks just fine and get a bit buzzed, but that's as far as I want to take it... I don't really see any reason to binge drink. I actually rarely drank while I was in college.. that just wasn't "my scene" so I can't really relate to someone who does want to go out and do that.

    I don't bolus for the "other" stuff in alcoholic drinks until I'm sure that "most" of the alcohol has been handled by my liver.. I'd rather run a bit high for a while than to go low, without any means of treating it other than IV dextrose. Running a little high isn't an immediate danger the way a low can be.

    Really the important thing to remember while drinking is that glucagon WILL NOT be effective if used to treat a low (the liver prioritizes the jobs it has to do, and releasing glycogen is not at the top of the list) nor will the body be able to recover from a low by itself (again, same issue with the liver).. and it's impossible to tell with some people whether they are unresponsive because of a low or just being drunk... would you want to make that call? I wouldn't.. I wouldn't want anyone around me to have to figure that out either.

    I would strongly caution against using diet sodas in mixed drinks.. alcohol without carbs is never a good idea. The amount of soda (4-6oz?) used in most mixed drinks is really not that hard of a hit in terms of carbs... even if you had several, it's managable.
  8. actualreality86

    actualreality86 Approved members

    Nov 9, 2009
    I too had one horrible night and since then I have MAYBE one drink every 5 months, so very seldomly do I ever decide to have much more. The way I was taught is that if you take a piece of bread and soak it in water that's what the alcohol is doing to your pancreas, it soaks it all up, and eventually it will need to be filled with something else. Make sure he's careful. Fun can happen with out alcohol, but if he does decide to drink he needs to know the pros and cons of it all.
  9. geekguyandy

    geekguyandy Approved members

    Apr 24, 2008

    My docs always said not to drink, and that it complete mess up my bgs for hours and throughout the night. Coming back to reality, that was complete lies, but they probably have to scare people away from excessive drinking. Drinking makes my BGs go up, so I always plan for that. I generally don't take large boluses in these situations, but instead just keep taking small boluses to keep the IOB at a reasonable level. I find in any tricky situation, it's better to handle it over time, than taking huge boluses with potential for bigger risks.
  10. Omo2three

    Omo2three Approved members

    Jul 11, 2008
    My understanding is if the liver is busy detoxing the alcohol in your system ...it is unable to give out glucose in hypoglycemic reactions.

    You would need a glucose IV drip.
  11. HERMSman

    HERMSman Approved members

    Sep 9, 2010
    Alcohol can be consumed by a Type 1 D. I am an adult type 1 and also a homebrewer. I brew medium and high alcohol beers. Two to three beers are what I consume most evenings. I bolus for 60 carbs during this period. At dinner I bolus for the dinner carbs. It works out fine for me. But I do test a lot to make sure lows do not happen. My A1Cs have been between 6.7 and 6.9, so I think in moderation and properly managed alcohol consumption is fine.
  12. obtainedmist

    obtainedmist Approved members

    Aug 3, 2010
    Our endo told us to try to drink with a meal...but if you can't do that, then make sure to have some carbs with a drink or carry a pack of peanutbutter crackers with you for the drink. Since lows can occur later on, it's often good to have some protein/fat with the carbs. I read somewhere that pizza and a drink can be the perfect match!;)
  13. Amy C.

    Amy C. Approved members

    Oct 22, 2005
    Drinking in moderation is not something most college students do. Unless you can rise above the crowd and restrain yourself from getting blotted by drinking only a couple of drinks, slowly, and with some food, a Type 1 is going to get into trouble.
  14. Sugafree516

    Sugafree516 New Member

    May 17, 2011

    Alright so I'm 18 and I live in a huge party town. Ontop of that, I'm a bartender/barback every Saturday night. I was dxed when I was 12 years old. Back then I never thought that drinking with diabetes would affect me just because I was so against it as a child but as I grew older I quickly realized that all of my friends had started drinking as soon as we hit high school (9th grade). So I experimented with true friends that I knew would take care of me in the event of an emergency. Once I started bar backing at 16 I was around alcohol all the time which made it so much easier for me and partying became a big thing for me. There are nights that I get hammered and have a blast but there are also times where I'm able to just socially drink without being legless. And at age 18 I'm very proud of myself for this. Now, I drink pretty much every weekend at least one night but I have my limits. I recently just went to Puerto Rico for my senior trip with 25 of my friends. Cut to the point, we drank heavily every night but in the middle of the trip I gave myself 3 full days to chill and just cleanse myself. I've been back for over a month and I still haven't drank yet. I know that drinking a lot is bad for a diabetic but I have ALOT of control over myself. Like I said, there are nights that I get totally smashed but I know that i wont get like that for weeks after. Being a diabetic is really tough when it comes to drinking because we all know the dangers of of sugar going out of whack. No matter how drunk I am, even blackout drunk, I ALWAYS remember to check, take my lantus, and regulate my sugar. Everyone may be different and people may say that I need to calm down with drinking but I know myself and my limits. I'm not stupid and I hope that everyone here has the same attitude as I do

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