Diabetics are fully aware of how different beverages and foods affect blood sugar. However, they may not be as knowledgeable concerning the effects alcohol has on their blood sugar levels. Alcohol consumption can put diabetics in a dangerous situation for a variety of reasons, and Colorado Springs live-in home care providers can explain why.
Blood Sugar Fluctuations
Blood sugar levels may rise or fall dramatically depending on the type of alcoholic beverage consumed. The liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol in lieu of releasing important glucose, which can cause severe fluctuations of blood sugar levels. In the presence of diabetic medications, blood sugar may drop to critically low levels. On the other hand, mixed drinks and some liqueurs contain high amounts of sugar that could cause dramatic blood sugar spikes.
Hypoglycemia or Intoxication
Dancing, exercising, and engaging in sports or other physical activity typically lowers blood sugar. When diabetics combine physical exertion with alcohol, this effect is magnified and causes severe drops in blood sugar levels. This is dangerous because low blood sugar can cause dizziness, loss of physical coordination, slurred speech or other unusual behavior that can also be symptoms of either hypoglycemia or intoxication. Onlookers may mistake one for the other and a diabetic could lapse into a coma without immediate intervention. Under normal circumstances, oral glucose or glucagon injections immediately raise blood sugar in an emergency because they alert the liver to release glucose. If metabolizing alcohol sidetracks the liver, this action can not take place.
Alcohol is known to have depressant and relaxant properties. In a relaxed state, especially among people, diabetics may be more inclined to throw caution to the wind and be tempted to eat the wrong foods or drink more alcohol. If your senior loved one has diabetes and engages in social drinking, he or she may benefit from Colorado Springs home care. An extra set of eyes can monitor potentially dangerous situations for your loved one and take the necessary precautions to prevent drinking-related accidents.
Dramatized Existing Damage
Once absorbed into the bloodstream, alcohol travels throughout the body and affects important bodily systems. Someone who has peripheral neuropathy, for instance, may experience an increase in the painful burning and tingling sensations associated with the condition. Similarly, alcohol can also aggravate diabetic retinopathy. Aside from the liver, alcohol stresses the kidneys, which could make hypertension worse.
Because alcohol affects kidney filtration and blood pressure, drinking could render anti-hypertensive medications useless. Alcohol also interacts with diabetes medications, and not in a positive way. The combination may cause light-headedness, loss of balance, gastric irritation or uncomfortable skin flushing. If left unchecked, it could result in serious complications that will send your loved one to the hospital.
If you need help managing your loved one’s care needs, contact the trusted experts of Home Care Assistance at (719) 822-1229. In addition to basic care needs for otherwise healthy seniors, we also provide comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care Colorado Springs families can rely upon. Call an experienced Care Manager today and schedule a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.