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Alcohol Consumption Associated With Diabetes

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

There are many negative consequences associated with alcohol consumption. Immediate effects linked to heavy alcohol consumption include the likelihood of injury or risky sexual behaviors. Long-term effects include liver disease and some types of cancer.

Alcohol can also cause complications for individuals dealing with chronic health problems. For instance, when diabetics use alcohol regularly, it can make treating their problems difficult. It is often challenging for healthcare providers to understand which symptoms are linked to diabetes and which are linked to alcohol consumption.

A recent study examined the connection between alcohol use and diabetes. The researchers recruited the subjects through a study conducted in Sweden. Of the participants, some had been involved in an intervention program designed to twart diabetes in the community.

The participants were assessed 8 to 10 years after the initial study to determine whether they met criteria for diabetes mellitus or impaired glucose metabolism (pre-diabetes). The authors of the study compared this data with baseline information about alcohol consumption.

The report showed that about 2,000 males and 3,000 females exhibited a normal glucose tolerance when tested at baseline. Of these individuals, however, 105 males and 57 females later developed type II diabetes. For those who were recorded as pre-diabetic at baseline, 175 males and 98 females later developed diabetes.

The analysis of diabetic diagnosis and alcohol consumption showed that binge drinking and total alcohol consumption were associated with an increased risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes in males. Low consumption of alcohol was associated with a lowered risk of diabetes in females.

The authors did not discuss in their findings that among all comparisons and associations analyzed in the study, the highest risk of pre-diabetes or diabetes was found to be among those who did not consume any alcohol.

Those who reviewed the study expressed some concerns about its validity. For instance, the study included subjects who had participated in an intervention trial for the prevention of diabetes, but information about the possible effects of the intervention was not included as part of the study. In addition, it was not a population-based sample and the sample included some who had a family history of diabetes, which may affect the measurement of the impact of certain environmental aspects.

However, the reviewers acknowledge that the study does add support for the growing body of research showing that there is an association between alcohol consumption and a diagnosis for diabetes. It appears that there is a reduction in risk observed when alcohol consumption is moderate, and an increase in risk for those who drink heavily.

The information provided by the study may be helpful in developing prevention strategies for those at-risk for diabetes. Those who are pre-diabetic may be able to reduce their risk for diabetes by carefully monitoring alcohol intake.