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Diabetes and Diabulimia – What Are the Main Signs of This Eating Disorder?

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Have you heard of the term diabulimia? Well it is actually a word that has made it's presence felt in the last few years. It is not a medical term but a word used to describe an extremely dangerous eating disorder for diabetics.

There are many complications that affect diabetics in different ways. Some of them are eating disorders: the most well known ones are anorexia and bulimia. Recently, a new disorder has appeared on the scene and it is one that is exclusive to diabetics; it is also a very dangerous eating disorder.

Diabulimia causes problems full stop... but added to this is the fact this disorder is not fully understood: it is not understood how it works or how much it can harm the body.

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So far it is known anyone with type 1 diabetes can contract this disorder when they manipulate their insulin to avoid weight gain, but it is usually young females who have issues with their body image. They reduce or skip their insulin doses as a weight loss measure which, of course, means their blood sugar levels are anything but stable.

If anyone with type 1 diabetes doesn't take enough insulin... and they need to as their body just does not make insulin, naturally their blood sugar levels are raised leading to frequent urination. Then their kidneys are forced to work harder to purge the excess sugar that has accumulated in their blood stream. This leads them to becoming dehydrated, really tired and their muscle tissue breaks down. Rapid weight loss follows in a similar manner to bulimia, which is where the name originated.

Studies have shown that approximately 30% of teenage girls who are diabetic contract diabulimia. The trigger can be peer group pressure and, as they feel they need to fit into the group, they skip insulin doses to lose weight.

Females with diabetes are more than twice as likely to contract an eating disorder as compared to non-diabetic females. Long term effects include loss of eyesight, kidney and even heart disease.

These are the main signs to watch out for:

  • changes in eating patterns
  • vomiting
  • unusual periods of intense exercise
  • higher infection rate
  • extreme concerns about weight and body shape
  • missed periods
  • higher HbA1c
  • unstable blood sugar levels
  • tiredness and depression
  • anxiety
  • weight loss
  • low self esteem

Unfortunately the long-term effect could also include diabetic neuropathy... this occurs more often in diabetics who have had diabulimia. Retinal damage also occurs in 80% of diabetics who have had diabulimia as compared to 24% in those without this eating disorder.

Eating disorders are diseases of control that mostly affect women, although in recent years men have become more vulnerable.

Would you like more information about alternative ways to handle your type 2 diabetes?

Check out these related articles, too:

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To download your free copy of my E-Book, click here now: Answers to Your Questions... its based on questions many diabetics have asked me over recent months.

Beverleigh Piepers is a registered nurse who would like to help you understand how to live easily and happily with your type 2 diabetes.
Copyright. (c) 2010 Beverleigh H Piepers RN. All Rights Reserved.

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