Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels fall below the optimum level.
Although this condition mostly affects people who are suffering from diabetes, people who don’t have diabetes can also suffer from low sugar levels.
Glucose, also known as blood sugar is an important source energy that is mainly derived from carbohydrates.
Once you are done eating, glucose is absorbed directly into the bloodstream where it travels into the cells. Insulin which is produced in the pancreas helps to convert glucose into energy.
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Excess energy is usually stored in the muscles and liver for later use. Blood sugar is very important. In fact, without it, your body cannot perform crucial functions well.
A person can suffer from hypoglycemia if his/her blood sugar level falls below 70mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia and alcohol
There are many things that are believed to cause hypoglycemia. Some of them include the use of certain medications, overproduction of insulin, hormone deficiencies and excessive consumption of alcohol.
So, the big question is, does alcohol cause hypoglycemia and if yes, then why does it cause this condition?
Multiple clinical studies have revealed that there is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
However, that does not mean that everybody who drinks alcohol will suffer from this condition. We all know that most alcoholic drinks contain a high sugar level.
It is therefore normal to wonder how alcohol, which mostly contains high sugar level can cause hypoglycemia (low sugar level). Under normal circumstances, alcohol consumption will increase blood sugar level.
However, that is not usually the case. The relationship between alcohol and low blood sugar has a lot to do with the liver.
Why Alcohol Causes Hypoglycaemia
The liver is a very important organ in the body. It not only helps to eliminate toxins from the body but it also ensures that the body has optimum blood sugar levels.
Clinical studies have revealed that excessive consumption of alcohol can prevent the liver from releasing glucose into the blood efficiently. Binge and heavy drinkers who are fond of drinking alcohol with an empty stomach and at high risk of suffering from this condition.
This is because drinking on an empty stomach makes it extremely difficult for the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream.
People who engage in alcohol consumption and are diabetic are also at risk of suffering hypoglycemia. This is because their liver is not able to produce enough glycogen to prevent the blood sugar level from falling below the optimum levels.
Many people who drink alcohol and are suffering from diabetes are at high risk of suffering from low blood sugar levels overnight especially if they go to bed without taking additional carbohydrate. Studies have also shown that hypoglycemia also plays a big role in trigger alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
For instance, popular alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, and fatigue also main symptoms of hypoglycemia.
This means that if you are suffering from this condition, then you are more likely to have a rough time quitting because of nasty withdrawal symptoms that you will experience.
How to prevent hypoglycemia
Below, we outline seven ways you can prevent hypoglycemia:
A. Drink moderately
Multiple clinical studies have revealed that there is a direct correlation between alcohol drinking and hypoglycemia. The risk is particularly higher for people who are involved in binge drinking.
Remember that this condition not only affects people who are suffering from type 1 diabetes, but it can also affect any person including those who are not suffering from diabetes.
Drinking alcohol is not encouraged because of the harm that it brings to the human body. However, if you have to drink then you are advised to drink moderately.
This means that you should drink an amount that will not harm your body. Health practitioners recommend that an adult man should not consume more than two standard drinks a day.
Women, on the other hand, should not drink more than one standard drink a day. Cutting on alcohol consumption will help reduce the symptoms of hypoglycemia drastically.
B. Eat before you drink
This is a very important factor that is often overlooked by many people. This is particularly important for people who are suffering from diabetes.
If you drink on an empty stomach, then your liver will not be able to release glucose into the bloodstream. This will lower your blood sugar level thus increasing the risk of suffering from hypoglycemia.
Therefore, before you drink, ensure that you eat foods that mainly comprises of carbohydrate.
This way, your body will have enough glucose meaning that your liver will be able to release glucose into your bloodstream even when you drink alcohol. However, eating before drinking does not guarantee you 100% that your blood sugar levels will not drop.
To be safe, ensure that you drink in moderation.
C. Know the type of hypoglycemia that you are suffering from
It is very difficult to treat what you don’t know. Before you begin any treatment, it is very important to do your research to know what exactly you are suffering from. There are two types of hypoglycemia. They include functional and reactive hypoglycemia.
Reactive hypoglycemia is like an allergic reaction. It occurs when certain factor as such as stress, alcohol consumption, certain foods among many others are triggered.
On the other hand, functional hypoglycemia is triggered when there is abnormal glucose regulation in the body.
Consult your doctor to help you determine the exact type of hypoglycemia that you are suffering from.
This way, you will know the exact action to take to avoid suffering for low blood sugar level.
D. Monitor your blood sugar closely
If you have had problems with hypoglycemia, then it is crucial to monitor your blood sugar level closely. This is particularly important for people who drink alcohol and are diabetic. Alcohol is one of the main causes of hypoglycemia.
Therefore, before you start drinking, monitor your blood sugar to see if it is within the recommended level. Don’t stop there, continue monitoring your blood sugar level even when taking your drinks.
If you notice a sudden change in your blood sugar level, then you should stop drinking immediately and seek medical attention.
The fact that you are monitoring your blood sugar level should not be an excuse to drink excess alcohol. Always drink in moderation.
E. Keep your glucose tablets on hand
Glucose tablets can help to boost your blood sugar level just in case your blood sugar falls suddenly.
If you had a problem with hypoglycemia before, then it is crucial to always have glucose tablets within reach. Hypoglycemia can attack you anytime including when you are not consuming alcohol.
It is therefore important to always prepare yourself for any eventuality. However, before you purchase a glucose tablet, ensure that you consult your doctor for advice and recommendations. Also, ensure that take these tablets as prescribed.
F. Let your family and close friends know about your struggles
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction and you are suffering from low blood sugar, then it is wise to see share your struggles with close friends and family. Don’t assume that your family and friends understand what you are going through. Just be open and let them know.
This way, you will get unwavering support from your family members.
For instance, if you used to go out for drinks with your friends, then they will stop calling you when they go out for drinks.
They will also avoid putting you in situations that temps you to drink alcohol and if you have to drink alcohol, they will ensure that you drink in moderation.
They will also ensure that you take your medication on time. Family support is very important.
G. Seek help from professionals
If you well know that you have problems with hypoglycemia but you are still unable to quit drinking, alcohol, then the best thing to do is seek help from relevant professionals.
For instance, you can talk to your doctor and explain to him about your struggle with alcoholism. You can also ask for help from a professional counsellor.
The counsellor will not only give you professional help but will also direct you to people who can help you get professional help. You can also seek help from local support groups.
Hypoglycemia is a deadly condition that can greatly affect your life. Don’t wait for things to get worse in order to seek help. Take action immediately. This way you will get the professional help that will help you recover from addiction and possibly live a hypoglycemia free life.
In conclusion, alcohol consumption increases your risk of suffering hypoglycemia. The risk is even higher for people who a suffering type one diabetes. If you have had problems with hypoglycemia or if you are suffering from diabetes, then you are advised to quit drinking alcohol or drink alcohol in moderation.
If you find it difficult to quit alcohol, then you should seek help from a relevant professional.
Hypoglycemia is a deadly condition.
However, if you make necessary lifestyle changes such as quitting alcohol, avoiding stress, exercising, and following a healthy diet plan, then you can live a healthy and happy life.
Keith stopped using drugs and drinking alcohol more than 10 years ago. He now spends a lot of time writing and editing content for this website. His mission is to assist people who are also looking to embrace addiction recovery. Keith believes a key way to accomplish this goal is through his writing.