Excessive alcohol use brings with it a number of health risks. Now we know it also raises your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. This disorder has reached almost epidemic proportion among Americans. Obesity and lifestyle factors are a major cause of type 2 diabetes, but alcohol abuse is now also recognized as a contributor.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as one drink daily for women, and two drinks for men. Drinking more than that damages the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin to regulate blood sugar in healthy people. The more you drink, the more damage there is to the pancreas, and the greater the risk of developing prediabetes and eventually full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes is defined by the American Diabetes Association as a period when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to reach the threshold of type 2 diabetes. This state raises your risk of developing diabetes.
According to preliminary research introduced April 18 at the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation’s EuroPRevent, patients with high blood pressure who drank more than ten drinks daily had a six-times higher risk of developing prediabetes.
There are three ways drinking, especially drinking large quantities of alcohol, contributes to diabetes:
1. Heavy drinking can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin, according to the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.
2. Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the organ, is usually caused by heavy alcohol consumption, especially in men. Diabetes is a common side effect of this chronic condition.
3. Alcohol contains a significant number of calories. One beer can have as many as a slice of pizza. These extra calories raise your likelihood of becoming overweight, another diabetes risk factor.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 26 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and another 79 million Americans have prediabetes. Many people who overuse alcohol may already be prediabetic and be unaware. This is because symptoms are subtle, and develop very gradually.
Signs of prediabetes include:
cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
Diabetes is the primary cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults. It is also a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and the seventh-leading cause of death.