Even though we already know that none of these substances is safe, we may still be tempted to try alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. What we may not know is that they pose considerably more danger to those of us with diabetes.
Everyone knows about drinking too much and drive after drink. For people with diabetes though, even just a little alcohol can be dangerous. Alcohol on its own can lower our blood glucose, while the sugary mixers in some drinks can raise our blood glucose. It is also difficult to recognise the signs of hypoglycemia when we are drinking. We may think that we are just feeling the effects of alcohol, when in fact our blood glucose is falling rapidly. Others may attribute our strange behaviour to being drunk, even if they know we have diabetes.
Don’t forget: drinking is illegal until you’re 18! However, some teens still drink. If we decide to drink, make it as little as possible. Stick to one or two drinks only and avoid mixing of different wines. We should never drink on an empty stomach because the danger of hypoglycemia is too great. On the other hand, we should not pig out when we drink or we will face the opposite problem. Also, check the alcohol and carbohydrate content of various drinks and only choose the ones with lower alcohol and sugar. We should always wear our medical ID bracelet, especially if we drink — just in case.
Smoking is a reason for a huge number of deaths due to lung cancer and heart disease every year. It can also cause or worsen other conditions like asthma, sinus infections, allergies, and many other health problems. Smoking is double trouble for those of us with diabetes, who are already at risk from heart disease and kidney problems, no matter how old we are.
The dangers of illegal drugs are just more or less the same as alcohol. Some drugs can lower blood glucose, yet some others raise it. Symptoms of hypoglycemia may be masked by the effects of the drug, in this case we may put ourselves in jeopardy because we ourselves cannot notice it too.
Drugs can affect different people in different ways depending on the type, amount and purity of the drug. Drugs – legal or not – can cause serious problems with our health, the police, and for our family and friends. To avoid these problems, we should simply steer clear of drugs, particularly the more addictive ones (which include nicotine).