Justin Delgado is husband to Kacie Doyle-Delgado, diagnosed at age 11. After more than a decade together, he considers himself to be an expert carb counter and Dexcom inserter. He graduated with his Master of Science in Finance from the University of Utah in 2013 and has been working in commercial banking since then. He attended his first Friends for Life conference in 2015 and is looking forward to volunteering with the teens.
November 16, 2009
Other, Research: Causes and Prevention
Question from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:
Now 18 years old, I've had diabetes for five years. When I was younger, I used to masturbate daily. Did this cause my diabetes? Also, are smoking and drinking alcohol bad for people with diabetes? I have heard that alcohol lowers your blood sugar.
Masturbation does not cause or contribute to diabetes. Smoking and drinking excessive alcohol are very poor choices when you have diabetes and clearly can contribute to early death and complications from diabetes.
Regarding alcohol, CWD has used the following advice (from CDE and author Betty Brackenridge) in the past and it is still great advice:
“In figuring out how to best manage your food and insulin when drinking alcohol, it may help to understand a bit more detail about what’s happening. Alcohol does not, in itself, lower or raise blood sugar. The body handles it much like fat. Alcohol is processed by the liver — detoxified actually. While the liver is processing alcohol, it cannot release glucose to the blood stream — and that is where the risk for hypoglycemia comes from. The liver’s ability to release glucose to the blood stream when you haven’t eaten for a while is an important protection against low blood sugar.
If you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, your insulin may keep lowering your blood sugar, and your body will have no way to prevent hypoglycemia. Snacking on carbohydrate foods along with your alcoholic beverages will keep glucose coming into the blood stream while your liver is busy handling the alcohol. The suggestion of one carbohydrate portion for each drink is as reasonable a place as any to start. You will need to test your blood sugar before and after to see how it’s working. Crackers, pretzels, chips and salsa, potato skins — these are all things that could work (although it doesn’t take very much of any of those things to give you 15 grams of carbohydrate!). Some people also mix their drinks with half diet and half regular mixers (such as “Rum and Coke” made with half diet and half regular coke) so that they are getting a small amount of carbohydrate the whole time they are drinking. If you’re eating heavier snacks or hors d’oeuvres with your alcohol, you will need to bolus (give a meal insulin such as Humalog) for the food. You may need to subtract a unit or two from what would be your normal bolus if you are drinking alcohol at the same time.
Blood glucose monitoring is your best tool for figuring your own body’s exact response — and whenever you’re drinking, it is best to make sure that someone you’re with knows you have diabetes and that you are wearing and/or carrying diabetes identification. It could be easy — and really unfortunate — for someone to mistake a bad hypoglycemic reaction for being drunk just because you’d been having a couple of drinks.”