Food & Drink

Hypoglycemia and Alcohol

Most people are aware that alcohol can have detrimental long-term effects on the liver. However, many people are unaware that in the short-term, alcohol can also cause hypoglycemia. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia include vision changes such as double or blurry vision, pounding or racing heart, anger or aggressive behavior, anxiety, headache, extreme hunger, shaking, sweating, tingling or numb arms and legs, fatigue, insomnia, or difficulty thinking clearly. If you notice that alcohol tends to make you sick, it could be hypoglycemia. Let’s take a look at hypoglycemia and alcohol, and how we can prevent hypoglycemia from occurring.

How Are Alcohol and Hypoglycemia Related?

In order to figure out how hypoglycemia is triggered by alcohol consumption, it is imperative to comprehend the functioning of liver. The liver, injecting glucose into the bloodstream in a controlled manner, plays a vital role in the maintenance of glycogen levels and in the process of glycogenesis. What’s more, liver has the capacity to convert stocked glycogen to glucose if the latter’s level in the blood is low.

The Real Connection

The affinity of hypoglycemia and alcohol is such that consuming excessive alcohol not only leads to dehydration, but also interferes with liver’s competence to drain glucose from blood and its ability to convert stored glycogen to glucose. Alcohol consumption can be particularly risky for individuals suffering from type 1 diabetes or taking strong medicines.

Diabetic individuals taking insulin injections or medications need to prevent the overflow of glucose into blood. However, if they drink, the effect could prove to be counterproductive as the liver will be stunned or inhibited from releasing sufficient glycogen resulting in acute hypoglycemia.

It Can Form a Vicious Circle

Diabetologists and endocrinologists are of the opinion that an alcoholic with hypoglycemia has hyperactive pancreas that are overly proactive in the maintenance of normal blood sugar level. This leads to the overproduction of insulin that eventually soak up more sugar from bloodstream than is necessary resulting in hypoglycemia.

Heavy or hard drinkers are extremely prone to being diagnosed with hypoglycemia and moreover their poor or unhealthy nutrition habits are likely to exacerbate the hypoglycemic levels or symptoms. Since alcohol has a high proportion of sugar of the refined variety, alcoholics experiencing a hypoglycemic attack and feeling hungry will crave for alcoholic drinks rather than food.

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