Alcohol consumption can lower blood sugar levels to the point of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), causing symptoms. A person with diabetes should keep careful track of his/her blood sugar levels when drinking alcohol, because certain diabetes medications, including insulin, also lower blood glucose levels. If levels are too low, or if the stomach is empty, alcohol consumption should be avoided.
The symptoms for alcohol intoxication and hypoglycemia are similar. Symptoms may include fatigue, disorientation, and dizziness. To ensure proper medical care for hypoglycemia, a person with diabetes should carry a card or wear an identification bracelet or necklace indicating that he/she has diabetes.
Alcohol sometimes can cause blood glucose levels to rise, due to the carbohydrates in certain drinks. Consuming alcohol while eating, or right before eating, can cause blood sugar levels to rise, which may be dangerous to the individual.