Twenty-six episodes of ‘The A-Files’ air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode P covers the links between Prediabetes and alcohol use. Alcohol use carries a significant danger of developing type 2 diabetes. The blood sugar disorder has reached near epidemic status in the United States and has largely been blamed on an increase in the percentage of the population considered overweight. However, alcohol use and the disease of alcoholism also contribute to the disease.
Alcohol use damages the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing insulin naturally to regulate blood sugar. The more a person drinks, the more damage to that organ and the higher the risk of developing prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), prediabetes is when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Prediabetics are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
The risk of prediabetes may be even higher for people with high blood pressure, according to preliminary research introduced in 2013 at the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation’s EuroPRevent meeting. The University of Padova, Italy, found that patients with high blood pressure who drank more than 10 drinks a day had a six-times higher risk of developing a prediabetic condition.
Drinking alcohol, contributes to diabetes in three ways.
1. Drinking can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin (according to the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism)
2.Diabetes is a common side effect of chronic pancreatitis, which is overwhelmingly caused by heavy drinking, especially in men. (See The related Nature Genetics report)
3.Alcohol contains a huge amount of calories. One beer can be equivalent to a slice of pizza. The extra calories increase your chance of becoming overweight, another diabetes risk factor.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes and another 79 million Americans have prediabetes. Many people with alcohol use disorders already may be prediabetic and not know it, according to the ADA, “because the symptoms develop so gradually, people often don’t recognize them. Some people have no symptoms at all.”
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death… part of that is due to the third-leading cause of death, alcohol use.