Diabetes mellitus is characterized by high glucose levels in blood stream because of defects in the body’s ability to either produce or use insulin for regulation of glucose. If you suffer from any type of diabetes, then it means there is an excess amount of sugar in your blood stream. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.
There are three types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually starts in childhood, type 2 diabetes is usually found in adults and gestational diabetes is found in pregnant women. Assuming that children and pregnant women do not drink or smoke and hence do not get affected by its complications, the scope of this article is limited to type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes and alcohol
Various researches have proved that alcohol and tobacco consumption increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The general opinion is that drinking alcohol is good for health. To some extent, this belief is true also but not entirely. Actually drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, has been proven to be good for health but any amount more than that can actually reverse the health benefits.
When a person drinks alcohol in excess amounts, then it affects various body parts adversely. Excess alcohol consumption can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which can affect its ability to secrete insulin and can cause further problems in diabetics.
Alcohol consumption affects your liver also. When you drink alcohol, your liver deviates from its primary function of producing glucose. Excess intake of alcohol can actually decrease your blood sugar levels, which is sometimes dangerous to life; you can even experience hypoglycemia.
If you want to drink alcohol then it is a good idea to treat one serving of alcohol equal to two servings of any fat laden food because it has high calories also. Take your glass of alcohol with your meals or some snack to avoid the danger of hypoglycemia and never take alcohol on an empty stomach. By ensuring that you have snacks or meal along with alcohol, you actually ensure a steady supply of glucose to body cells and brain, until your liver flushes out alcohol from your blood stream and gets back to its normal functioning.
Diabetes and Smoking
To some extent, alcohol consumption is not hazardous for diabetic people but smoking is a strict no-no because it can cause serious health complications in diabetics. It was a common knowledge earlier that diabetics who are smokers have high blood sugar levels, which leads to further complications like nerve damage, renal failure, heart problems, etc.
Recently a study done by a professor of chemistry, Xiao-Chuan Liu, at the California State Polytechnic University has led to the findings that nicotine of cigarette adversely affects a diabetic. Liu found during his research that nicotine increased levels of hemoglobin A1c by as much as 34 percent. Hemoglobin A1c is basically a combination of hemoglobin and glucose and is the standard indicator of blood sugar levels in the body.
Besides, the study also reveals that substitutes for smoking are also not a good idea for diabetics because they also contain nicotine and are likely to increase A1c levels in the blood stream. The best way is to practice abstinence from smoking. Even a single cigarette can cause complications so do not think in terms of reducing your puffs, just make up your mind to quit smoking forever in order to lead a healthy and complication free life.
Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and the best way to lead a healthy life is to keep all lifestyle anomalies away and lead a disciplined and regular life. By stopping smoking and drinking, you will not only improve your diabetic status, your overall well-being will also improve drastically since these things affect our entire body and its systems badly.
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