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From Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA:

My husband, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few years ago, is not taking any medication, and most of his self tests are in the normal range, but he consumes three or four beers three days a week. I've read many of the previous questions submitted related to drinking alcohol and most suggest that alcohol be consumed in moderation."Moderation" is usually defined as two drinks per day (14 per week). Will his present level of alcohol use affect his diabetes? He is moderately overweight, has high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. How concerned should I be about his drinking?


The best way to tell if this drinking pattern is having negative health effects is to look for the evidence. There are four concerns:

  1. Blood sugar control -- testing both before and after eating and drinking both on the days he drinks alcohol and the days he doesn't will show whether this pattern is adversely effecting his blood sugar. Many diabetes specialists would want his blood sugar to be less than 160 mg/dl [8.9 mmol/L] by about two hours after eating.
  2. Triglycerides -- many people with type 2 diabetes have a problem with triglycerides and alcohol can greatly contribute to high triglycerides. If they're high, the raise risk for heart disease and heart attacks. The goal is to keep fasting triglycerides under 200 mg/dl. if they're high, both better blood sugar control and less alcohol may be helpful in getting them under control.
  3. Blood pressure (high blood pressure) -- anything over 130/80 is a very serious concern for people with diabetes. In susceptible people, alcohol intake can raise blood pressure.
  4. Weight -- alcohol has a lot of calories that can contribute to a higher body weight than is best for your husband's health.

If all of these situations are under control, great. If not, look for ways to get them there. The drinking pattern -- along with food, medicines, and exercise -- could all be tools to improve things.


Original posting 25 Jul 2001
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:24
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