You’ve probably heard about the dangers of drinking and we know it's illegal until you're 18. If you do decide to drink and you have diabetes, there are risks that you need to be aware of.
Alcohol can stop your liver from releasing glucose, which can increase the risk of hypos - especially if you’re out late, dancing or drink a lot. It can make it more difficult for you to recognise the symptoms of a hypo or you may be mistaken for being drunk. Alcohol can also cause vomiting and dehydration which may lead to DKA (ketoacidosis) and a possible trip to hospital. Many people also run into problems because alcohol can make it easy for you to forget about looking after your diabetes.
It’s recommended (for adults) that women drink no more than 1 standard drink each day - for teenagers there is no amount of alcohol that is considered to be safe.
If you do decide to drink, it’s important to take care to minimise any risks. Make sure you eat carbohydrate foods regularly while you’re drinking to reduce the risk of a hypo and carry hypo foods with you (eg. in your handbag / pocket). Test your blood glucose level, especially before bed, and top up with extra carbohydrate foods. Wear ID saying that you have diabetes, and make sure that a friend who is with you (one who’s not drinking) knows what to do if you have a hypo. Don’t skip your bed time insulin, you may need some adjustments if you get home late - talk to your diabetes team about what to do in this situation. You can find more info in D Zone at the link below.
Remember it’s illegal to drink alcohol under the age of 18 but if you’re considering drinking it’s important to talk to your diabetes team about the risks and how to stay safe.
diabeteskidsandteens – Risky Business