Effects of Alcohol on Type 1 Diabetes

Updated at: Feb 07, 2014
Effects of Alcohol on Type 1 Diabetes

Alcohol can have severe effect on type 1 diabetes. It makes life of diabetics difficult by making the symptoms more severe and complex.

Bushra Kafeel
MiscellaneousWritten by: Bushra KafeelPublished at: Jun 02, 2011

Type 1 Diabetes is a condition when pancreas stops producing insulin. A diabetic person must be very careful about controlling blood sugar level. This can be done by keeping required use of insulin and careful eating habits. Effects of alcohol on type 1 diabetes patients are very dangerous. When a person with type 1 diabetes drinks alcohol the liver starts to filter it from blood. This shifts the focus of liver from its primary task of regulating blood sugar level.

When a person with type 1 diabetes drinks alcohol, symptoms of the disease become worse. If you have following symptoms then alcohol is complete no for you -

  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve damage in arms and legs
  • Eye diseases that area caused by diabetes
  • High triglyceride (fat) level



When alcohol enters the blood stream, liver fails to add extra glucose till patient eat something. According to a diabetes educator from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston- when your liver is too busy in detoxifying alcohol then you are at higher risk of hypoglycemia. Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia immediately after drinking; this condition can persist from eight to ten hours.


Liver Functions


Regular and heavy drinking can damage liver and create a condition called cirrhosis wherein, the healthy tissues are replaced by the scare tissues. Cirrhosis impairs the regular functioning of liver and make things difficult for diabetics.


Nerve Damage

Even moderate alcohol consumption can be threatening for type 1 diabetes mellitus patients. It can worsen the nerves condition and lead to pain as well as numbness. According to American Diabetic Association (ADA), patients of diabetes that have problem of nerve damage must quit drinking immediately.


Alcohol and Diabetes Management


The effect of alcohol on blood sugar level has adverse affect on the diabetes management.  Whether it is the case of high or low blood sugar level, in both the cases it is difficult for the diabetic to manage his diabetes effectively. This doesn’t mean that a person with type 1 diabetes can’t ever drink. It just require little planning and control from the patients side.

Experts suggest that a type 1 diabetic patient must make sure that he eats something before drinking. Drinking after meals is safer than on an empty stomach.


Read more articles on Understand Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus



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