Diabulimia Prevalence Among Young Women

Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
Young women with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are twice as likely to develop an eating disorder, a new study found.

The National Eating Disorder Association states that diabulimia is an eating disorder in which individuals with T1D deliberately give themselves less insulin to lose weight.

Overall, 15% to 20% of all young women have an eating disorder, and up to one-third of these women have diabetes, reported NewsGram.

Diabulimia is a serious condition that often gets overlooked,” Charlotte Summers of Diabetes.co.uk told NewsGram. “For people with [T1D], the stress of injecting [insulin] can have a detrimental effect.”

Potential signs of diabulimia include the following: unexplained weight loss; hemoglobin A1C level of 9.0 or higher on a regular basis; blood glucose records that do not match hemoglobin A1C results; obsession with body image; frequent thirst and frequent urination; depression and mood swings; secrecy regarding glucose, shots, and eating; repeated bladder and yeast infections; low sodium and potassium; increase in appetite, particularly sugary foods; and avoiding clinic appointments.

Omitting or manipulating insulin intake can also cause glucose levels to surge and reach unhealthy levels, according to the investigators. This could lead to fatigue or muscle tissue wear and can cause complications such as kidney disease, neuropathy, and retinopathy.

“It is something that affects both men and women and requires more awareness and research in order to determine the best way to address the emotional impact of diabetes,” Summers told NewsGram.

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