Monday, February 8, 2016

An Eating Disorder with Type 1 Diabetes

Most people are aware of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, and Type 1 diabetes is an ever more prevalent disease as well. However, the combination of the two can be deadly to an individual who takes extreme measures to watch their weight. The term diabulimia, though not recognized as a medical condition, occurs when patients manipulate their insulin in order to purge calories through urination to lose weight. They do not have to use laxatives as a patient with bulimia does, because by skipping their insulin shots or manipulating the insulin pump, the sugars spill into the urine. Running at high blood sugars on the constant can lead to ketoacidosis, which poisons the body and can eventually lead to complications including kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, amputations and heart disease. A high risk group is female teens with type 1 diabetes who have a 2.4 times greater risk at developing the eating disorder. This occurs primarily because weight loss is often the first symptom of Type 1 diabetes. After beginning insulin treatment though, they gain weight back and are then encouraged to intently focus on their diet because of the condition. Treatment is difficult because of the complexity of both the eating disorder, but there is necessary focus on reading food labels that comes with Type 1 diabetes. It involves a more intuitive approach. Both physicians and family members need to assist in looking for repeated episodes of ketoacidosis or consistently poor blood sugar control. Fortunately, once patients get help, the risk of long term implications decreases and it is possible to heal. 

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