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DIABETES AND ALCOHOL: KNOW THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS

    When a person is faced with the diagnosis of diabetes , several situations can cross their mind. The most common are related to changing habits, especially when this indicates restrictions.

    Food , for example, is one of the main aspects to be adjusted. Along with it, the practice of physical exercises is also encourage. But what about the consumption of alcoholic beverages? Is there prohibition on its use?

    The answer to this question requires an in-depth analysis, but we have already said that no, that is, diabetes and alcohol is a possible combination to happen. Now, read on and understand better about it!

    Understand the big picture of alcohol consumption

    Top view of healthy food in plate with stethoscope and red heart for cholesterol diet and diabetes control on pastel blue background. World health day and medical concept.

    Before really getting into the relationship between the condition and consumption, it is necessary to understand what is associated with drinking alcohol. In fact, alcoholism is a global public health epidemic and, given its scope, the gaze must go back a little.

    In other words, before thinking about the consequences, we need to analyze the causes. What drives an individual to drink?  The relationship between reward and pleasure deposited in consumption? What does he look for in the drink?

    In the face of such complexity, it would be very wrong to just determine the prohibition of alcohol without a deep analysis of what is involve in the context.

    Thinking about data, statistics reveal that the prevalence of consumption is 74.6% in the population. Looking specifically at diabetic adults, the indices portray substance use in 50.8% of people.

    The psychodepressive and hypnotic effect provided, when associated with the pleasurable sensation, makes the total abolition of use a little difficult. Therefore, the most sought after alternative is health education. Through it, it becomes possible for people to understand the risks and benefits of alcohol, as well as the way to ensure that consumption is not harmful.

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    When the diabetic understands that the problem is not the ingestion of alcohol itself, but the amounts ingested, there is a greater chance of reducing them and, with that, there is also greater adherence to treatment.

    So how about understanding how to strike the balance between risks and benefits?

    Know the risks of alcoholic beverages

    World diabetes day, Healthcare and medical concept. Healthy food including fresh fruits, vegetables, weight scale, sports shoes, dumbells, measure tape and diabetic measurement set on black background.

    Starting with the risks, we know that they involve the most diverse organs and systems of the organism. However, let’s better understand what is related to diabetes, that is, the paradox that alcohol generates in glycemic control.

    Did you know that one of the functions of the liver is to metabolize substances? This means that it deactivates some compounds, ranging from medicines to the ethyl component of beverages. After metabolization, they are excreted, either through sweat or urine, for example.

    So, when someone consume alcohol, the liver begins the process of deactivating the substances. However, it works in the following way: it metabolizes a dose of 1 drink every 2 hours. Thinking about speed and quantity, is this the reality of consumption?

    We know that he is often superior to that. Therefore, what is not being metabolized by the liver remains in the bloodstream, causing effects such as:

    • dizziness;
    • disinhibition;
    • decreased ability to reason;
    • euphoria.

    In addition to metabolizing substances, the liver plays an important role in controlling blood glucose. When it detects that the glycemic level is low, that is, in hypoglycemia, it directs its reserves to the blood, in addition to acting by producing sugar.

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    So, think about the situation of fasting alcohol consumption: glucose levels are low, the liver needs to regulate the situation, but at the same time it needs to metabolize the ingested alcohol. The result of this is hypoglycemia.

    On the other hand, imagine the situation of the consumption of beverages associated with food, whether at a barbecue or with snacks. Foods are usually high in carbohydrates, and since alcohol is also high in carbohydrates, blood glucose levels rise quickly. This is also not ideal for people with diabetes.

    Therefore, we know that there are risks in relation to diabetes when drinking alcohol. Anyone with this condition needs to carry a glucometer with them at all times to check glucose levels when necessary. The ideal times to measure blood glucose at a party are before eating and drinking, during the party and after, to avoid unnecessary scares.

    Until then, the risks were only short-term. But what about in the long run? What is the impact of alcohol? Cardiovascular risks increase a lot, especially when it comes to high blood pressure. In addition, there is weight gain and worsening of neuropathy, therefore, there is a contraindication for diabetes already with complications .

    Discover the benefits of drinks

    But is alcohol consumption only related to harm? No, ingestion in adequate amounts represents some protective factors for various conditions. According to the journal Diabetes Care, there is a 30% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. In this case, the ideal consumption should not exceed 48 g per day.

    And who already has diabetes? Is it possible to get any benefit? It is possible to improve insulin sensitivity, which is primarily responsible for glucose uptake. So, if consumption is up to 30 g for those who already have the condition, the consequence is better glycemic control .

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    In addition, more important than improving sensitivity to the hormone is to do so without harming the pancreatic cells responsible for its secretion. Lipolysis, that is, the breakdown of fats, secretes substances that inflame the pancreatic tissue. In adequate and sustained amounts, alcohol can lessen such breakdown.

    It is important to point out that there is a high number of mortality in diabetics due to cardiovascular events. In the elderly, consumption of 14 g, on average, reduces cardiac ischemic events by 80%, that is, heart attacks.

    Know the appropriate amounts

    In the course of the article, several times we emphasize the importance of adequate amounts. Now we are going to indicate what they are, always based on what is recommended by the Brazilian Society of Diabetes.

    In general, the recommended dose is 1 dose for women and 2 doses for men. But, what is a dose? Each drink has this specified, being:

    • beer: 360 ml;
    • wine: 150 ml;
    • distilled beverages: 45 ml.

    In addition, there are some important recommendations. The first of them is not to eat on an empty stomach, that is, be fed before consumption. Don’t forget to hydrate yourself with water, especially when you’re drinking alcohol.

    Speaking specifically of beer, it is a drink with a high alcohol and carbohydrate content. Considering that artisanal products can contain up to twice as much of both substances, avoid their consumption.

    Finally, we emphasize that diabetes and alcohol is a completely possible condition, as long as consumption is in the indicated amounts. Although they have been properly determined, it is essential to follow medical advice, as the professional analyzes the specifics of each case. Health education is necessary to achieve good results, but if prior consumption is not carried out, it is advised not to encourage it.

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