Diabetes is a metabolic disease caused by insufficient production of the hormone insulin resulting in serious trouble regulating blood glucose levels in the body. Untreated, diabetes may result in long-term effects such as blindness or neuropathy (decreased sense of touch). Diabetes also greatly increases the risk of contracting a stroke or other coronary diseases.
Alcohol inhibits the body's ability to store, regulate and metabolise sugar in various ways. For instance, alcohol inhibits the amino acids responsible for converting sugar into glykogen, which may then be stored in the liver. Since alcohol also inhibits the hormone glukagen, which is responsible for releasing adequate amounts of stored glykogen in case of low blood sugar, diabetics are especially at risk of suffering from fatally low blood sugar in the period following consumption of alcohol. Prolonged periods of low blood glucose levels may impair the normal function of the brain, which may further lead to seizures. This state of affairs may occur even upon the consumption of as little as one or two units of alcohol. Thus, diabetics are advised to consume food before sleeping if they've been drinking alcohol, even if their blood glucose level is normal.
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- C.V. Hansen, MD. (September 17th, 2008). "Alkohol og diabetes" (in danish). radiodoktoren.dk. http://radiodoktoren.dk/radiodoktoren/2008/09/17/alkohol-og-diabetes. Retrieved August 25th, 2015.