What would you do?

Explore two scenarios you may encounter if you have diabetes and you’re going out for the evening.

Find out more about each person by clicking the arrows below the pictures and then let us know what you would do if you were in their shoes. You can post your responses at the botttom of the page. You will also be able to see what others would do.

If you’re not comfortable sharing your thoughts, don’t worry! Feel free to take a look at what others have said. Click on the arrows on the slide show to reveal the scenarios and guidance.

They are going to a restaurant first, where Sarah wants to have some wine with her meal.

After the meal, they are heading to a party. Sarah has Type 1 diabetes, so she is a little anxious about having a hypo while at the party.

Sarah normally takes her insulin and background insulin at 10 pm.

What preparations would you make to manage your diabetes if you were Sarah going out for her friend’s birthday?

Jackson’s girlfriend doesn’t know much about his diabetes. She’d like for them to go to a cocktail bar after dinner so they can take advantage of the 2-4-1 happy hour.

What does Jackson need to bear in mind in order to safely manage his diabetes whilst he’s out with his girlfriend?

Add your contribution and then click on the arrows under the pictures below to reveal guidance and compare your ideas with ours:

If Sarah knows which restaurant she’s going to, she could try to plan what she’s going to eat and drink. A lot of restaurants and eateries provide carbohydrate information, so, if Sarah looks ahead, she’ll have an idea of how much insulin to give.Find out more about how you can prepare to eat and drink alcohol out in the Eating out section.

Sarah may also want to think about what she’s going to drink when she and her friends go clubbing, so she’s prepared for the effects the alcohol will have on her blood glucose levels.

Dry wines and spirits contain very little carbohydrate but put you at risk of hypos. If Sarah drinks more than 2 units (a large glass of wine or two shots), she will need to either eat bedtime carbs or take less of her background insulin – she may have to do both. Lager, beer, cider and alcopops have more carbohydrate, so these drinks will increase your blood glucose levels.

If Sarah has more than about 4.6 units of alcohol (a couple of pints) she should inject using half her normal ratio or 1 unit of insulin for every 20g. To avoid having a hypo in the hours after she’s been drinking, she will need to have a bedtime snack or take less of her background insulin (or both). It is very likely that Sarah will be out later than 10pm if she’s clubbing, so she should bear her background insulin in mind and adjust it accordingly.

Dry wines and spirits contain very little carbohydrate but put you at risk of hypos. If Sarah drinks more than 2 units (a large glass of wine or two shots), she will need to either eat bedtime carbs or take less of her background insulin – she may have to do both. Lager, beer, cider and alcopops have more carbohydrate, so these drinks will increase your blood glucose levels.

If Sarah has more than about 4.6 units of alcohol (a couple of pints) she should inject using half her normal ratio or 1 unit of insulin for every 20g. To avoid having a hypo in the hours after she’s been drinking, she will need to have a bedtime snack or take less of her background insulin (or both).

It is very likely that Sarah will be out later than 10pm if she’s clubbing, so she should bear her background insulin in mind and adjust it accordingly.

These are general rules. It is important to test your levels regularly when you’re drinking, so you can see how different types of alcohol are affecting you and make changes accordingly.Sarah should remember that the liver is busy breaking down the alcohol, which means it’s not focused on releasing glucose.

Therefore, this process is delayed and high blood sugars may crop up later than expected, which is why it’s important for Sarah test regularly and bear in mind that hypos can occur hours after she’s stopped drinking alcohol.

Sarah needs to take dancing (and even sex) into account if she’s going clubbing. These are forms of exercise and will have additional effects on her blood glucose levels.

She should also wear her diabetes ID and tell her friends how to spot the signs of a hypo, so they can help her should she fall ill.

Sarah should make sure she has some carbohydrate on her and hypo treatment — she could try to contact the club in advance and let them know that she’ll need to take her equipment in with her. She can easily pop this in her going-out bag!

Jackson knows what he wants to eat when he goes out, which is great! He may want to ask the restaurant for carbohydrate information, use an app, or use his previous experiences of eating out to gain a rough idea of how he’ll need to give his mealtime insulin, taking alcohol into account. He should bear in mind whether he’ll be having a dry wine or a sweet wine as the sugar content can be quite different.

Dry wines tend to contain little carbohydrate and sweet wines have more, so he’ll need to adjust his insulin accordingly.

Jackson’s girlfriend wants to go for cocktails, which tend to contain lots of sugar. These drinks will increase Jackson’s blood glucose levels. To avoid having a hypo after drinking, Jackson will need to have a bedtime snack or take less of his background insulin (or both).

It is important to test your levels regularly when you’re drinking, so you can see how different types of alcohol are affecting you and make changes accordingly.

High blood sugars may crop up later than expected, which is why it’s important for Jackson test regularly and remember that hypos may occur hours after he’s stopped drinking alcohol.

Jackson could also explain a little more about his condition to his girlfriend and let her know the effects that drinking can have on his diabetes.

If Jackson considers his blood glucose and regularly tests his levels, there’s no reason he can’t take advantage of a cocktail happy hour with his girlfriend! However, due to the sugar contents, he does need to be careful. Letting his girlfriend know this will help her understand why he may not be able to have too many. She’ll also be able to help him should he have a hypo.

Jackson’s girlfriend most likely cares a great deal about him, so it’s doubtful she’ll be anything less than supportive.


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