December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month
Almost everybody loves holiday parties. But drinking and driving can make that festive time deadly for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. December’s National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month has a high fatality rate due to people driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. According to the National Safety Council, over 40,000 people died in alcohol-related traffic accidents last year, so this year, stay safe during the holidays. If you are a diabetic, there are some additional things you should know about alcohol use.
Diabetes, Alcohol, and Social Drinking
People with diabetes should be particularly cautious when it comes to drinking alcohol because alcohol can make some of the complications of diabetes worse. First of all, alcohol impacts the liver in doing its job of regulating blood sugar. Alcohol can also interact with some medications that are prescribed to people with diabetes. Even if you only rarely drink alcohol, talk with your healthcare provider about it so that he or she knows which medications are best for you.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Alcohol interacts with diabetes medications
Alcohol can cause blood glucose levels to rise or fall, depending on how much you drink. Some diabetes pills (including sulfonylureas and meglitinides) also lower blood glucose levels by stimulating the pancreas to make more insulin. Combining the blood-sugar-lowering effects of the medication with alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia or “insulin shock,” which is a medical emergency.
- Alcohol prevents your liver from doing its job
The main function of your liver is to store glycogen, which is the stored form of glucose, so that you will have a source of glucose when you haven’t eaten. When you drink alcohol, your liver has to work to remove it from your blood instead of working to regulate blood sugar, or blood glucose. For this reason, you should never drink alcohol when your blood glucose is already low.
- Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach
Food slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream. Be sure to eat a meal or snack containing carbohydrates if you are going to drink alcohol.
- Always test blood sugar before having an alcoholic beverage
Alcohol impairs your liver’s ability to produce glucose, so be sure to know your blood glucose number before you drink an alcoholic beverage.
- Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia
Within a few minutes of drinking alcohol, and for up to 12 hours afterward, alcohol can cause your blood glucose level to drop. After consuming alcohol, always check your blood glucose level to make sure it is in the safe zone. If your blood glucose is low, eat a snack to bring it up.
- You can save your life by drinking slowly
Drinking too much alcohol can make you feel dizzy, sleepy, and disoriented—the same symptoms as hypoglycemia. Be sure to wear a bracelet that alerts people around you to the fact that you have diabetes, so that if you start to behave like you are intoxicated they know that your symptoms could be caused by hypoglycemia. If you are hypoglycemic, you need food and/or glucose tablets to raise your blood glucose level.
- You can save your life by knowing your limit
Your healthcare provider will tell you how much alcohol is safe for you to drink. Depending on your health condition, that may mean no alcohol at all. In some cases, women with diabetes may have no more than one alcoholic beverage a day. Men should have no more than two.
Try this recipe!
Almond Butter Chocolate Truffles
1 Cup unsalted, creamy almond butter
1/4 cup unsalted almonds
1 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coconut oil
4 ounce dark chocolate 70-85% cacao
How to Make It
Line a baking sheet or glass dish that can fit in your fridge with parchment paper. Blend almond butter, almonds, oats, and honey in a food processor. Once fully combined, roll into 1/2 inch balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet or in the dish, and let the truffles cool for 15 minutes in the fridge.
Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil over a double broiler, or microwave on high in 20 second increments until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Cover the truffles with the melted chocolate and add any toppings.
Freeze for 30 minutes to harden the chocolate. Remove from freezer, and store in your fridge. Enjoy!
So there you have it—there’s no need to fret over the holiday spread. Try adding this recipe to your holiday dinner. The entire family will have no problem digging into this mouthwatering dish.
HEALTH & WELLNESS SCREENING – offered by Firelands Regional Medical Center
You must Pre-register for all Lab Work at 419-557-7840.
Vermilion Health & Wellness Screening
1605 State Route 60
Thursday, December 12
7:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Castalia Health & Wellness Screening
101 South Washington Street
Saturday, January 18
7:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Huron Health & Wellness Screening
Drs. Williamson and Rousseau
300 Williams Street
Saturday, February 15
7:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Health & Wellness Screenings include:
- Complete Blood Count with Metabolic & Lipid Panel (No Eating or Drinking for 12 Hours – Water Allowed – includes liver and kidney function studies, fasting blood sugar, thyroid, cholesterol, HDL/LDL and triglyceride levels along with a complete blood count.) – $45;
- Hemoglobin A1C (A three month report card on how well your blood sugars have been running. A test used to diagnose diabetes and/or to evaluate how well your treatment plan is working.) – $25;
- PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)- $30;
- Vitamin D – $35;
- TSH – $25
Diet and exercise are an essential part of diabetes management. So is routine testing.
The A1C test—also known as the hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test—is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. It’s one of the commonly used tests to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, and is also the main test to help you and your health care team manage your diabetes. Higher A1C levels are linked to diabetes complications, so reaching and maintaining your individual A1C goal is really important if you have diabetes.
Last quarter, 68% of our diabetic patients had an A1C of less than 9%. Talk with your provider to discuss the right options for you.
*sources: diabetes.org, nationaltoday.com, cookinglight.com, diabeticgourmet.com