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Volunteer Advocate
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When Alcohol Meets CF

Your average middle-school class may cover the dangers of drinking, it may even cover how to drink responsibly, but it probably doesn’t cover how to drink responsibly with CF. If you’re about to turn legal drinking age, or you have mixed feelings about drinking with CF, the following advice is for you:

  • “Be smart. If you are diabetic make sure you control your insulin, because alcohol can your sugars to decrease.” – Rob Burtch
  • “I have always felt that my body is dealing with enough, without trying to manage alcohol as well, so I have always stayed away from alcohol entirely. It can be a challenge when people around you are choosing to drink, but there are definitely ways to have fun without alcohol! I recommend coming up with some ideas for fun, sober activities that you’re interested in, and inviting people to do those things with you – more often than not, you’ll all have just as much fun, if not more, than you would if you were drinking, and you’ll develop friendships with people that go beyond just getting drunk together.” – Terra Stephenson
  • “Becoming legal drinking age is exciting! But, don’t push yourself!” – Mackenzie Norris
  • “Remember your body can get dehydrated a bit easier than the average person so try to drink a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. This will save you from getting a nasty hang over too! And if you have CFRD (CF-related diabetes), make sure you know what different alcoholic beverages are doing to your blood sugar levels. I find some drinks will spike my sugars to begin with but then they’ll drop later on so I always make sure I have a snack before I go to bed. I also avoid the really sugary drinks to prevent spikes in my sugars. Preventing low blood sugars when you’re drinking is really important. Test your sugar levels throughout the night and treat accordingly. You also always want to make sure you’re with friends who know about your individual health needs. I think it’s also really important to be honest and up front with your doctors. Many of the medications that we take are impacted by alcohol so it’s important to know how alcohol will affect those medications and how they work in your body. If I’ve got an event coming up and I know wine will be served, I always check in with my docs beforehand to make sure it’s safe to drink while I’m on my current meds.” – Kim Wood
  • “I remember when I turned 19; I was an in-patient at St. Mike’s Hospital and did not get to celebrate the way 19 year olds typically do. My best advice is to don’t let yourself be influenced by the people around you. Of course you can still drink and have fun, but remember that you still have more important responsibilities waiting at home for you. Also, if you have CFRD, MAKE SURE you bring snacks with you…alcohol takes your blood sugar on a rollercoaster; first it sky rockets and then it plummets leaving you feeling weak, nauseous and ruins the rest of the night.” – Meaghan Macrury
  • “Enjoy, but be mindful of your health. Alcohol effects many things… blood sugar levels, the amount of oxygen in the blood, hydration etc. So enjoy and remember, that moderation is often the way.” – Erin Sullivan

Have insights you would also like to share? To be quoted in our blog please contact Terra at tgillespie@cysticfibrosis.ca

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