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December 31, 2001

Other Illnesses

Question from Salt Lake City, Utah, USA:

My father-in-law, who is in his late 50s, was recently diagnosed with diabetes. He is not overweight but is a practicing alcoholic and has no plans to change his lifestyle. What is likely going to happen to him in the upcoming year?

Answer:

The consumption of alcohol while taking certain diabetes medications could lead to several problems for your loved one. One must be able to recognize symptoms of low blood sugar and high blood sugar and be alert to treatment for these conditions. The use of alcohol could delay this recognition. Also, some people who would be classified as alcoholics are at risk for impaired liver function. This puts the person with diabetes at risk while taking certain diabetes medications. Please encourage him to talk over cautions and interactions of alcohol with all medications he is taking with his diabetes care team. So I’m glad you are taking time to research this important topic.

MG

[Editor’s comment: See:

Alcohol and the NIDDM patient
Alcohol and diabetes can be a fatal combination
Alcoholism and diabetes. Help!

I would also suggest that you, with help from your father-in-law’s physician, try to get your father-in-law to Alcoholics Anonymous or another self-help program.

SS]