Can Alcoholism Cause Diabetes?

can alcohol addiction cause diabetes

Diabetes is a health condition that affects the body’s insulin production and regulation and blood sugar levels. Different factors can lead your body to produce either too much or not enough insulin. Diabetes, in its various forms, can be further complicated by alcohol use and other substance use disorders. There are even a few medications for treating other health conditions that can cause you to develop diabetes.

There are steps that you can take to mitigate the chances of developing diabetes, as well as other actions and lifestyle changes you can make to take control of your health once again.

Diabetes Awareness Month takes place every November, and it is a time to support people with diabetes, celebrate medical progress, and promote changes to reduce the prevalence of diabetes and improve health results. World Diabetes Day lands on November 14, the birthday of insulin co-discoverer Dr. Frederick Banting.

The main objectives of diabetes awareness month are to manage blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, take medicines on time, adopt healthy habits, reach or maintain a healthy weight, take care of mental health, and work with a health care team.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a health condition that affects how your body uses glucose, a sugar type that is the main source of energy for the cells. Glucose comes from our food and is also made by the body. Insulin is the body’s sugar-regulating hormone, and it controls glucose’s passage into the cells. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly, glucose remains in the blood and causes high blood sugar levels. This can lead to numerous health problems, such as damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart

Diabetes comes in three variations, or types; type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

  1. Type 1 diabetes happens when your body’s immune system attacks and destroys its insulin-manufacturing cells.
  2. Type 2 diabetes transpires when your cells become resistant to insulin or your pancreas does not make enough insulin.
  3. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and normally goes away after the birth of the baby.

Diagnosing diabetes happens by measuring blood sugar levels and through a blood test called HbA1c, which shows how well blood sugar has been regulated over the past few months.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

A few typical symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger and prolonged fatigue
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Blurry vision or slow-healing sores
  • Tingling, numbness, or stabs of pain in the feet or hands
  • Increased infections or yeast infections

Diabetes can be managed through taking medications, such as insulin or other anti-diabetic drugs, and making lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, exercising regularly, and monitoring blood sugar levels. You can also delay or prevent diabetes by reducing risk factors, such as obesity, lack of physical activity, and family history of the disease.

There have been numerous evidence-backed cases of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes being reversed and eradicated in individuals who follow LCHF (low carb, high fat) diets such as paleo, Atkins, and keto. Intermittent fasting has also shown evidence of effectiveness in treating prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

What is Prediabetes?

It is possible to have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. This is a condition known as prediabetes. Prediabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and suffering from stroke.

What is the Relationship Between Diabetes and Substance Abuse?

can alcoholism cause diabetes

There is a complex and bidirectional relationship between substance abuse and diabetes. Substance abuse disorders affect the management of diabetes, further complications, and outcomes. Diabetes can also influence substance use patterns, motivations, and consequences.

Alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids, stimulants, and steroids are a few of the substances that can affect diabetes. These substances hamper self-care behaviors while interfering with blood sugar levels, insulin action, medication adherence, diet, and exercise, and they also raise the risk of infections, cardiovascular problems, nerve damage, kidney failure, and a host of other complications.

Some of the factors that can influence substance use among people with diabetes are stress, depression, anxiety, pain, social pressure, coping skills, self-esteem, and quality of life. Substance use can be a way of escaping or coping with the challenges of living with diabetes. However, it can also worsen the physical and mental health of the person and create more problems in the long run.

Treating diabetes and substance abuse calls for a thorough and integrated technique that simultaneously addresses both conditions. This is a dual diagnosis. The goals of these treatments are to improve blood sugar control, reduce substance use, prevent or treat complications, enhance well-being, and promote recovery. Options for treatment can incorporate a combination of medication, counseling, education, support groups, and lifestyle changes.

Substance abuse and diabetes are severe and chronic disorders that can affect each other in many ways. You gain a massive advantage when you are aware of the risks and seek professional help.

What is the Negative Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Diabetes?

Alcohol abuse harms diabetes in the following ways:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption can cause hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar). This happens because alcohol interrupts the liver’s process of regulating blood sugar levels and can also interact with a few diabetes medications that lower blood sugar by stimulating insulin production.
  • Alcohol can exacerbate various long-term complications of diabetes, such as fat metabolism disturbances, nerve damage, eye disease, and cardiovascular disorders. Alcohol can also increase the risk of infections and slow down the healing of wounds.
  • Alcohol (particularly beer) can contribute to weight gain, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Alcohol contains calories, and continuous consumption can increase appetite and reduce inhibitions, which leads to overeating.
  • Drinking alcohol can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where the body does not respond well to insulin and causes high blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance makes it harder to control diabetes and increases the need for medication.

Diabetic people should be wary and consult with their healthcare provider about drinking alcohol. They should also regularly monitor their blood sugar levels, eat healthy foods, be physically active, and limit or avoid alcohol use if they have any complications.

What are the Consequences of Drinking and Taking Drugs on the Body?

Drinking alcohol and using drugs have both short-term and long-term harmful effects on your body. A few possible consequences are:

  • Hypoglycemia. Alcohol can lower your blood sugar levels and inhibit your diabetes medications, which can be dangerous.
  • Organ damage. Drugs and alcohol can cause permanent damage to your liver, kidneys, heart, brain, and other organs, leading to chronic diseases and even death.
  • Weight gain. Alcohol and some drugs can increase your appetite and calorie intake, which can contribute to obesity, prediabetes, and other diabetic complications.
  • Insulin resistance. Alcohol (and certain other drugs) can make your body less responsive to insulin, which causes high blood sugar levels and increases your need for medication and intervention.
  • Mental health problems. Drugs and alcohol affect your mood, cognition, memory, and behavior, and this can lead to depression, anxiety, psychosis, or addiction.

Avoiding these risks can be as simple as limiting or avoiding drinking and taking drugs if you have diabetes or are at risk. You can find further support and help for your health and substance abuse by seeking professional treatment or joining a support group.

Which Drugs Cause Diabetes?

There are a few drugs that have the potential to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by affecting your body’s ability to produce or use insulin and lead to your developing diabetes. The major examples of these drugs are:

  1. Lithium. Lithium is a mood stabilizer that can induce diabetes insipidus, a condition where the kidneys produce too much urine.
  2. Statins. These cholesterol-lowering drugs can increase insulin resistance and impair the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.
  3. HIV antiretrovirals. These medications, particularly protease inhibitors and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, can increase peripheral insulin resistance and affect fat distribution in your body.
  4. Pentamidine. This is an anti-infective drug that can alter normal beta cell functioning in your pancreas and cause hypoglycemia (lower than normal blood sugar levels) followed by hyperglycemia (blood sugar levels that are higher than normal).

Receive Addiction Treatment at Golden Gate Recovery

Substance use disorders, alcohol use disorders, and diabetes are all serious conditions separately. A combination of two or all of the above can pose a serious threat to your health and life and can be hard to treat. But things need not be as dire as they seem.

Fortunately, Golden Gate Recovery is a facility with competent staff that have combined decades upon decades of experience with dealing with various substance and health disorders. We will meet you at your point of need and make the entire journey to recovery and rehabilitation together with you.

Contact us today to speak with our admissions team about enrolling in one of our programs, schedule a tour of our facility and see how we can suit your requirements, or speak with a professional about your condition and the options available to you. Make the first and most important step to reclaiming your health and life.

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