Unfortunately, many people today are unaware of the facts concerning alcoholism and diabetes dangers. However, this is a major health concern for millions of people worldwide. To put the subject into perspective, the following facts will help you realize the scope of this problem.
According to a report issued by the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:
- More than 21-million people have diabetes (approximately 1 out of every 11 people).
- Nearly 86 million people have prediabetes (one out of four of them don’t know they have it).
- The risk of death for people with diabetes is 50% higher than it is for people without diabetes.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
These statistics are based on reported cases of diabetes. Estimates show that as many as 8-million people have diabetes and don’t know it.
According to a report issued by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):
- Approximately 15.1-million Americans over the age of 18 have AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder)
- An estimated 37,000 adolescents received treatment for alcohol problems in 2015.
- More than 623,000 youths between the ages of 12 and 17 have AUD.
- Alcoholism is the 4th leading cause of preventable death in the US.
With these numbers in mind, we should be ramping up our efforts regarding education and awareness programs and try to bring down these shocking statistics.
Dangers of Alcoholism and Diabetes When Combined
The statistics presented above are a simplified breakdown of the large portion of society that suffers from alcoholism or diabetes. Now, we will combine the two conditions and try to get a better overall picture of the dangers the diabetic faces when drinking alcohol.
With 21 million people suffering from diabetes, and 15 million struggling with alcohol problems, it’s safe to assume that a significant number of those people are alcoholics with diabetes. Unfortunately, each condition has an extensive list of side effects that can endanger the person’s life. For instance:
Alcoholism and diabetes each present the following health problems:
- kidney disease
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- eye disease or blindness
- high cholesterol
- trouble losing weight
When a diabetic person drinks regularly, they are increasing their chances of serious consequences or death. However, for individuals who have their diabetes under control, one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men is considered safe according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
People with diabetes should be advised that their body metabolizes alcohol differently than does the body of a person without the disease. In other words, the process can be described as follows:
- Alcohol moves into the bloodstream without being metabolized by the stomach. After having one drink, it takes only 5 minutes for the alcohol to enter the bloodstream.
- It takes the liver approximately 2 hours to metabolize one drink. If you drink faster than your body can metabolize it, the alcohol reaches your brain and produces a “buzz.”
- If you are on insulin or other oral diabetes medications, alcohol can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels because the liver is busy processing the alcohol and can’t regulate blood sugar.
As a person with diabetes, if you are unsure whether you are in danger after drinking alcohol, there are some symptoms to watch for that indicate you have too much alcohol in your blood. Watch for symptoms of dizziness, sleepiness, and disorientation. Although these are common symptoms of an alcohol high, they are also warning signs that a person with diabetes should not ignore.
If you need treatment for alcoholism but are worried about your diabetes, please be advised that our highly trained professionals have expertise in dealing with patients who have co-occurring disorders. Call our toll-free number today if you would like more information about treatment for alcoholism and diabetes.