How to test at home? - frustrated finding basic info....

johnthomas

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
What do you mean exactly? Coping with what - the alcohol or raised blood sugar?

The HbA1C will show if your blood sugar has been high enough to put you in the diabetes range. It doesn’t matter so much why that’s happened, just whether your body is now in that range or not.

If you’re talking about the alcohol, then I’d imagine a liver function test will be the answer to that.

>What do you mean exactly? Coping with what - the alcohol or raised blood sugar?

the raised blood sugar.

Note that alcohol is a carbohydrate itself. I have a hard time buying that drinking mountains of wine wont lead to significantly elevated blood sugar at the time at least, but thanks everyone for the above as I have learned a few things.
 

rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Alcohol is not a carbohydrate in itself. It is high in calories yes, so if you drink lots, it may make you fatter and lead to insulin resistance, but spirits like vodka, gin, rum and whisky etc and dry wines are pretty much zero carb. That is why some of us Type 1s choose these drinks over the likes of beer or cider. Add in a low calorie mixer like diet coke or slim line tonic and we don't need to think about injecting insulin to cover our rum and coke or G&T etc. Beer and cider and alcopops and sweet wine and sherry/port all contain carbs, so it very much depends upon what your preferred tipple/poison is.
 

pm133

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Note that alcohol is a carbohydrate itself. I have a hard time buying that drinking mountains of wine wont lead to significantly elevated blood sugar

The point is that if it DOES lead to significantly elevated blood sugar levels, it will mean you are diabetic.
I am not sure if you have not understood that point or whether you are worried about your alcoholism being exposed by your GP, potentially forcing you to deal with it head on but IF you are diabetic and continue to run high blood glucose levels you will suffer a potential range of complications including blindness and limb amputation.

You need to make up your own mind as to whether the risk is worth it.
 

johnthomas

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
I thought alcohol was a carbohydrate, and I'd say the dictionary backs this up:

Oxford learners dictionary:
"noun. /ˌkɑrboʊˈhaɪdreɪt/ , /ˌkɑrbəˈhaɪdreɪt/ 1(informal carb) [countable, uncountable] a substance such as sugar or starch that consists of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Carbohydrates in food provide the body with energy and heat."

Chemical formula is:C2H6O ...i.e. carbon, hydrogen, oxygen - and gives the body both energy and heat.

Merriam Webster:
"any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (such as sugars, starches, and celluloses) most of which are formed by green plants and which constitute a major class of animal foods"

might be wrong though -
 

rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
The point is that if it DOES lead to elevated blood sugar beyond a certain amount it will mean you are diabetic.
Exactly.... No different to me eating a rediculous amount of sugar and sweets for goodness knows how many years and then my levels suddenly rocketing because \i became diabetic. Up until that point that things broke, my pancreas could preoduce enough insulin to cover the shocking amount of sugar (and starchy carbs) I was eating. When I became diabetic which pretty much happened overnight, I could no longer cope and my BG levels rose and I had the typical thirst and weight loss and running to the loo all day and night.
 

Robin

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I thought alcohol was a carbohydrate, and I'd say the dictionary backs this up:
I think the crux of the matter is how the body breaks it down. It doesn’t break it down into sugar, as it does other carbs, it breaks it down into carbon dioxide and water, so it’s not a carbohydrate in that sense.
 

rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I hope we are not encouraging you to drink more with a clear conscience here. Alcohol might not cause your BG levels to rise, depending upon what you drink but it will damage your liver and that is in itself much more serious than diabetes... which is after all a manageable condition.
 

pm133

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I thought alcohol was a carbohydrate, and I'd say the dictionary backs this up:

Oxford learners dictionary:
"noun. /ˌkɑrboʊˈhaɪdreɪt/ , /ˌkɑrbəˈhaɪdreɪt/ 1(informal carb) [countable, uncountable] a substance such as sugar or starch that consists of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Carbohydrates in food provide the body with energy and heat."

Chemical formula is:C2H6O ...i.e. carbon, hydrogen, oxygen - and gives the body both energy and heat.

Merriam Webster:
"any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (such as sugars, starches, and celluloses) most of which are formed by green plants and which constitute a major class of animal foods"

might be wrong though -

A carbohydrate such as glucose contains several alcoholic functional groups. Alcohol is made from sugar and breaks down in the body differently. I wouldn't have thought that the body would turn ethanol back into sugar again but my speciality is Chemistry. Maybe someone from a Biochemistry background could confirm this. I have certainly never seen alcohol's categorised as carbohydrates but you might be right.
 

pm133

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I think the crux of the matter is how the body breaks it down. It doesn’t break it down into sugar, as it does other carbs, it breaks it down into carbon dioxide and water, so it’s not a carbohydrate in that sense.
Carbs break down into glucose in the body and glucose is converted into carbon dioxide and water as well through the Krebs Cycle.
 

Robin

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Carbs break down into glucose in the body and glucose is converted into carbon dioxide and water as well through the Krebs Cycle.
But at the point at which the carbs have become glucose, presumably that glucose is available for use by the body, if there’s enough insulin to deal with it? And if there isn’t enough insulin, or it can’t be used, the body excretes it in the urine, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t happen with alcohol. I’m just a layperson, but that’s my basic understanding.
 

Ralph-YK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I thought alcohol was a carbohydrate, and I'd say the dictionary backs this up:
Still not a reason to discount an HbA1c test because of your drinking. Just as eating food isn't a reason to avoid the test. And should be at least as good as using finger prick tests for diagnoses.
 

Ralph-YK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Also, the affect it has on your body & brain indicates that's it's not the same as cake or potatoes.
 

pm133

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I thought alcohol was a carbohydrate, and I'd say the dictionary backs this up:

Oxford learners dictionary:
"noun. /ˌkɑrboʊˈhaɪdreɪt/ , /ˌkɑrbəˈhaɪdreɪt/ 1(informal carb) [countable, uncountable] a substance such as sugar or starch that consists of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Carbohydrates in food provide the body with energy and heat."

Chemical formula is:C2H6O ...i.e. carbon, hydrogen, oxygen - and gives the body both energy and heat.

Merriam Webster:
"any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (such as sugars, starches, and celluloses) most of which are formed by green plants and which constitute a major class of animal foods"

might be wrong though -

OK so you've made me dig through my old Chemistry books :)
What you have described as a carbohydrate (in terms of having carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) is actually a more general definition of "organic compounds".

A carbohydrate is more specifically defined (according to my book called Carbohydrates) as a polyhydroxylated (more than one alcoholic functional group) aldehyde with a formula of Cn(H2O)n. Ethanol (the main constituent of drinkable alcohol) certainly fulfils neither of those. Neither does methanol or propanol.
So I think we can safely say that alcohol is an organic compound but not a carbohydrate.
 

pm133

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
But at the point at which the carbs have become glucose, presumably that glucose is available for use by the body, if there’s enough insulin to deal with it? And if there isn’t enough insulin, or it can’t be used, the body excretes it in the urine, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t happen with alcohol. I’m just a layperson, but that’s my basic understanding.
Yes, the body tries to secrete it through urine which is why we pee more and get thirsty. As far as I understand it, alcohol is processed through the liver because it is metabolised via an aldehyde which is toxic to the body (probably where hangovers come from) and the liver has the ability to turn toxic things like that into harmless species - presumably carbon dioxide and water.
I am at the limit of my knowledge now though.
 

Inka

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I have a hard time buying that drinking mountains of wine wont lead to significantly elevated blood sugar at the time at least, but thanks everyone for the above as I have learned a few things.

I think the carbohydrate question has been answered above by people much better qualified than me. TBH, if you’re drinking a significant quantity, I’d be more concerned about liver function. At least diabetes gives you a few warnings - thirst, frequent urination , etc - whereas a decline in liver function can be insidious and only obvious when things are very bad.
 

Docb

Moderator
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Some of the chemistry in this thread is a bit iffy.

Alcohols are not carbohydrates. They do not breakdown to produce glucose. Quite the reverse, glucose, like all sugars can be broken down to produce alcohols.

Glucose is a simple carbohydrate as are all sugars. The carbohydrates that we focus on in foodstuffs are more complicated carbohydrates which in the olden days would have been collectively referred to as starches. They break down to glucose in the gut.
 

Docb

Moderator
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
OK, @pm133, was just trying to shut down some thread drift.

To try and summarise where we are with regard to the original post.

I think we are all agreed that @johnthomas was a bit wide of the mark in assuming that alcoholic drinks would increase blood glucose and make a HbA1c result misleading. If some particular drink does increase blood glucose, then it will be because of any associated carbohydrate in the drink and not because of the alcohol.

Using a spot blood test meter to test for diabetes is fraught with difficulty and the professionals are unlikely to provide a diagnosis and prescribe treatment on the basis of those tests. Attempting a self diagnosis by that route is not a good idea.

Sorry if that is not what you wanted to hear @johnthomas, but I hope the discussion will help you think about where you go from here.
 

johnthomas

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
At risk of diabetes
yes - thanks @pm133 , @Docb and the other contributors. I have indeed learnt quite a bit - seems I wasn't quite right about the carbohydrate definition and also hadn't appreciated the blood sugar lowering effects of alcohol.

as from where I go from here....well - after a couple of days of zero carb (just to settle my system down a bit) I bought new testing sticks and tested at 4.8 on waking the following morning, 5.5 2 hours after a large (with carbs) meal, and 5.0 the next morning (after drinking just over a bottle of wine the night before). I know this isn't proof, but I'm minded to take it as a very encouraging sign that the odd neuropathy symptoms I've been seeing are not actually diabetes related.

cheers!
 

Inka

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
If you’re getting neuropathy symptoms do speak to someone. There can be many causes apart from diabetes, even something as ‘trivial’ as a vitamin deficiency.
 
Top