Thursday, 28 September 2006

Diabetes and Alcohol

As a student, I am completely aware of the temptation that drinking alcohol is. But I also know how to say no. I was fortunate enough to be diagnosed when I was 11, which has meant that not drinking has never been an issue for me. I do understand however that would I have been diagnosed during my potential drinking years, things may have been a little different. I have heard a few stories from diabetics who have had bad experiences with alcohol, and there seem to be a few common links between them:

Firstly, there is a lack of understanding as to how alcohol affects your system. So here is a quick breakdown from my vague understanding:
- Your body reacts to alcohol as a toxin, a poison. This means that your body will not secrete glucose until it has got rid of the alcohol in your blood stream. Which granted it can stay in your blood stream until the next morning can be a BIG problem.
- The dangers are greatly increased if you drink on an empty stomach or if you exercise at the same time.

Secondly, everyone feels peer pressure to drink. Life as a student means that I am regularly faced with the challenge of whether or not to drink, but for me, I don't find it hard to say no. It may seem like a challenge to not drink, but it is so easy. I will share with you some tips that I have come across:
- Have one drink and take it round with you the whole night, sipping slowly. This means that you always seem like you are drinking, when actually you haven't really started.
- Drink water. You may feel as though everyone thinks you are 'uncool', but you have to realise that you are the clever one! If you have had your limit of 1 or 2 drinks then switch to water.
- Avoid cocktails. If you are going out for a cocktail, have a look through the ingredients to see whats in them. Cocktails are one of the mot sugary things you can drink, expecially if it is very colourful.
- If you are going out dancing, be sensible and eat food to counteract the dancing before you go, and always remember that bars usually sell crisps also if you do feel hungry.
- Do not stay out too late. I have found it really important to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day to keep my levels good. There is usually an occasion every week that you can go to that finishes at 12 exactly.
- Make sure that you go out with friends. This ensures that if something does happen to you, that they will be there to know what to do.

Lastly, be sensible. You know you shouldn't have more than one glass, so don't.