Type 1 Diabetes & Alcohol

I really enjoy a beer! Especially, on Friday and Saturday evening. I'm a stay at home mother so on Friday evening when all the young people in my house are tucked up in bed, I reach for a bottle of beer and that's what signals to me that it's the weekend. I have 2 beers on each of those nights.

This morning, I was thinking about how much I used to drink in my twenties. And about how if I knew then what I know today about the risks of "boozing" would it have made me more responsible with alcohol? I also wondered how the hell I'm still alive!!!

THE major risk (apart from being stupid while drunk) is that while your liver is working hard to eliminate the alcohol from your body it can't protect you if your blood sugar drops. Usually, when a person with type 1 diabetes has low blood sugar, the liver prompts the release of stored glucose and you should come out of it. We try to treat hypos ourselves before that happens because when the liver prompts the release of glucose it releases too much. (Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this explanation of what happens when T1D & your liver meets alcohol may be over simplified and my understanding of it may not be wholly accurate.)

But when your liver is busy dealing with alcohol it doesn't realise there is another risk. Livers can't multi-task.

Back in my twenties I was still a bit new to my diabetes. I sometimes tested when I got home from a night on the town. I sometimes gave in to the callings of the chipper or Supermac's. I never would have alternated with minerals (soft drinks) and as for asking for a water!? That was a very uncool word.

How did I survive? It had to be luck, it had to be!

These days if there was a rare occasion to drink more than two beers I would always test before collapsing onto my pillow. I very often have a pint glass of water next to my drink. I go to bed with higher than normal sugars, just to be sure to be sure. And even though the glucagon kit isn't effective with alcohol in your system I still carry it in my handbag (you want people to be able to say they tried everything).

But, most of I really don't drink anywhere near the quantity that I used to in my twenties. I like not to be hungover when answering the 300 thousand questions from my son. I like not to be hungover and glued to my couch on a nice day when I could be outside with my family. Why did it take so long for me to cope on? And I am so glad I did!