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Alcohol and diabetes

Most people with diabetes can drink alcohol, but knowing how it can affect you means you can stay healthy while enjoying a beer.  

There are health risks from drinking alcohol for everyone, for instance heart disease, but the added risks for people with diabetes include dangerous rises or spikes to blood sugar.  

Alcohol can lower blood sugars and lead to a hypo

Alcohol can make your blood sugars drop low, leading to a “hypo”, so be careful about how much you drink.

Other health risks of alcohol include:

  • higher blood pressure
  • neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • dehydration
  • poor sleep

Drinking can lead to weight gain, as there’s lots of calories in alcohol – which can have a big effect on diabetes.

Alcohol makes you feel worse over time

Some people think a few drinks will cheer them up, but alcohol can only make you feel worse over time because it is a “depressant”. Most alcohol and some drugs affect the part of the brain that makes us feel low.

One of the best things you can do for your body, for diabetes and for stress, is to move more. It’s a fact that activity helps to manage diabetes better.

Talking to others also helps with stress. You should talk to your healthcare team about how you're feeling because it’s part of the care you should be offered. North West London also offers talking therapies to support you.

Or you might prefer to talk to someone close to you, like a friend or family member: it’s good to talk, and it’s ok not to be ok.

Regular drinking lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood.

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