Diabulimia: How Some People Take Too Little Insulin to Lose Weight

Diabulimia: How Some People Take Too Little Insulin to Lose Weight

It’s an eating disorder that few talk about but many people with diabetes suffer from, and sometimes in deadly ways.

According to a recent report on BBC.com, something called diabulimia is the world’s most dangerous eating disorder.

The rarely-talked about condition refers to a combination of type 1 diabetes and irregular blood sugar.

More specifically, it happens when a person with type 1 diabetes deliberately takes too little insulin, in order to lose weight.

And it’s very hard to detect. A person might look fine on the outside and be of average weight and normal body size. The problem lies with what’s going on inside their body.

When someone with type 1 diabetes restricts their insulin, the blood sugar runs extremely high, raising the risk of complications from diabetes. A person can damage their kidneys, eyes and nerve endings, suffer from high cholesterol, bacterial infections, a stroke, coma or even death.

Related: Vegan? Gluten-Free? How Your Obsession With ‘Clean Eating’ May Actually Be An Eating Disorder Called Orthorexia

According to the Diabulimia Helpline, over 30% of diabetic women between the ages of 15 and 30 omit taking enough insulin, to some degree.

How can you spot the disorder in a friend of family member? One of the key symptoms of diabulimia include hemoglobin A1C levels of 9.0 or higher on a continuous basis. Unexplained weight loss and a persistent thirst or the need to go to the bathroom often are also indicators.

A person with type 1 diabetes who has an unusual preoccupation with their body image and keeps their blood sugar levels a secret, as well as their eating habits could also be at risk.

Contact your doctor if you have concerns and call the hotline by clicking here.

Photo credits: Kzenon/Bigstock.com


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