As human beings, we’re creatures of habit. And to be honest, most of those habits are terrible for us. Smoking, drinking, gambling, addiction to electronics or social media… It’s all horrible and it all has terrible short and long-term effects on a person’s health. I can promise you without any doubt, that any of the people whose life was brought to a sooner end as a result of any of these bad habits wish they had never gotten into them in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong; in the past twenty years, I’ve effectively indulged in everything I’ve listed above at one time or another. Even now, I admit to being guilty if enjoying the occasional cigar or having a bottle of wine while watching Lord of the Rings and contemplating life. I don’t really do the whole gambling thing, unless you count my weekly lottery ticket (don’t get me started on THAT one). And since I’m currently writing this blog on a laptop, the use of electronics speaks for itself.
My grandfather lived to be 96 years old, after surviving active service in World War II and enjoying his drink just a little bit more than the average person. Actually, if I’d fought on active front lines during World War II, I’d likely enjoy my drink a LOT more than I do. But I digress… My point is, some people have the ability to manage their vices without it being detrimental to their lives. And as I’ve often said, all things in moderation. But here’s the part that sucks: all of it is worse for someone with Type-1 Diabetes.
Although I can totally admit that gambling is more of a detriment on one’s life in general, it’s mostly the consumption of alcohol and smoking that has some measurable effects on the system of anyone living with Diabetes. And yes, this applies to both Type-1 and Type-2, as well as any of the unpleasant in between versions of Diabetes that I’ve written about before.
As far as alcohol is concerned, a Diabetic first needs to be knowledgeable on the amount of carbohydrates contained in their drink of choice. The average can of beer usually contains about 11 grams of carbs. That likely doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you sit to an evening with your pals during your favourite UFC pay-per-view and down a six pack on your own, you’re looking at 66 grams of carbs you need to bolus for! And that’s without taking into consideration the fact that by your sixth beer, you’re likely starting to forget you should bolus.
Wines and spirits are just a little bit better, with wine coming in at about 4 grams of carbs per glass and most pure spirits having no carbohydrates at all. One of the secondary concerns is that we tend to snack on some rather nasty snack foods when we drink, which can also lead to bad blood sugar control. Don’t get me started on the fact that increased alcohol consumption can lead to higher blood pressure, sleep and weight issues, all of which can adversely affect Diabetes.
Next, let’s look at smoking. Because I enjoy bumming everyone out. It’s no secret that smoking will lead to a host of health complications, not least of which includes high blood pressure and cancer. But according to an article posted by the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, an important study was conducted from 1983 to 1993, which was named the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. It found that increased levels of smoking led to higher HbA1C results, increased chances of retinopathy and kidney issues. The only good news is that the Diabetes-realted complications disappear almost immediately, if you quit smoking.
The bottom line is that poorly-controlled Diabetes will cause increased blood pressure on its own. Why make it worse by introducing something that will aggravate that condition? This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a beer with your friends. It simply means to consider moderation, monitor your blog glucose levels closely and don’t allow yourself to get into a situation where you start neglecting your insulin and/or blood sugar levels. ☯