Updated 15 February 2017

What happens when a diabetic drinks too much?

Drinking too much could have serious consequences for diabetics.


If a diabetic drinks too much, it could have very serious consequences, chiefly as a result of the havoc the high sugar content in many alcoholic drinks wreaks on the blood glucose levels.

The other major danger is that if a diabetic has had too much to drink, the symptoms of hypoglycaemia can easily be confused with the symptoms of intoxication.

But that is not the only consideration. Alcohol promotes the uptake of blood glucose and can therefore cause a drop in blood glucose. Excessive alcoholic consumption can cause hypoglycaemia, and in severe cases, even a diabetic coma.

If diabetics consume alcohol excessively, they will become unable to care for themselves and will neglect testing blood sugar levels and injecting themselves with insulin when necessary. Furthermore, high alcohol consumption can cause increased serum triglycerides.

Then of course, whether one is diabetic or not, high alcoholic consumption brings about problems of its own in the areas of general health, emotional welfare and material well being. - (Health24, November 2007)


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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