Abnormal glucose metabolism in men with alcohol withdrawal syndrome

Przegl Lek. 2014;71(9):469-74.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the glucose metabolism in patients suffering from ethanol withdrawal syndrome. The study group comprised 88 alcohol dependent men aged 21- 50 y (mean 39.18 years, SD ±7.78), treated at the Clinical Toxicology Ward. Alcohol dependence was diagnosed accord- ing to the criteria of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Human Problems (ICD-10). The degree of alcohol withdrawal syndrome was assessed according to the scale CIWA-Ar. The blood ethanol concentration, and glucose serum concen- tration were measured on admission. On the next post-admission day blood glucose were determined after fasting and at the 0, 60th and 120th minute of an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) using 75 g glucose. Basing on the recommendations of Polish Diabetes Association (2013y) the patients were classified into one of groups according to their glucose tolerance test results.

Results: Mean duration of alcohol dependence was 10.56 years ± 7.78. A mean CIWA-Ar scale score was 23.95 points ± 2.81. Mean BMI was 24.65 ±3.74, overweight and obesity were determined in 35.22% examined men. Normal glucose tolerance were found in 54.55%, abnormal fasting glucose and/or abnormal glucose tolerance were noted in 23.87%, diabetes in 10.23%, and hypoglycemia in 11.36% of examined patients. Intensity of withdrawal syndrome according to the CIWA- Ar (OR -1.59, p= 0.05) and duration of alcohol consumption (OR -1.01, p=0.03) were the risk factors of diabetes type 2 in examined group. Greater BMI was a protective factor against diabetes type 2 in the study group. There was no significant correlation between risk of hypoglycemia and age, BMI, duration of alcohol consumption, alcohol blood concentration on admission, intensity ofwithdrawal syndrome according to the CIWA- Ar scale. A higher frequency of hypoglycemia was found in patients who declared vodka drinking in interview (at the borderline of statistical significance OR - 7.43, p=0.06).

Conclusions: 1. In the study group of alcohol-dependent men, the risk of diabetes was inversely proportional to BMI value. 2. The risk factors of type 2 diabetes in the alcohol-dependent group included the duration of lasting alcohol drinking and the intensity of withdrawal symptoms according to the CIWA- Ar scale. 3. According to the preference of alcohol type, a higher frequency of hypoglycemia was confirmed only in persons preferring to drink vodka.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / metabolism
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / metabolism*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Ethanol