Diabulimia is an eating disorder that is becoming more common in people with type 1 diabetes, especially in teenagers who are more affected than adults. This is because teenagers frequently lose weight before their diabetes is checked but they gain weight quickly once their insulin therapy starts. Few young people become incredibly dissatisfied with the fact that they are adding weight, because they realize this in case they miss a portion of insulin needed for getting in form.
What is Diabulimia?
Diabulimia is a disease condition in which a person with diabetes deliberately refuses or fails to take the insulin required to lose weight. Diabulimia is a media-coined word that refers to an eating disorder in a person with diabetes, usually type I diabetes, in which the person intentionally limits his/her insulin intake in order to lose weight.
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An individual with diabetes stops taking exactly the necessary amount of insulin or remove portions of insulin entirely when attempting to lose weight.
While diabulimia is not an eating disorder as indicated by the definition of an eating disorder, it is often correlated with one because the effects and impacts obtained are comparable.
Type 1 diabetes is characterized as a physiological condition in which virtually little or no insulin is produced. Patients must take a dose of insulin by mouth or intravenously to address this issue.
Our bodies need insulin to correctly regulate glucose levels in the blood. Insulin helps glucose to leave the blood circulatory system and enter the liver for storage or body cells, where it gives the cells strength and energy of the cell. Glucose is not adequately handled by the body without insulin, which can inflict serious harm.
Stopping or limiting insulin infusions provides the desired result of using a range of strategies to reduce body weight. Without insulin , the body can’t separate sugars from glucose, resulting in practically no calorie absorption. Although this can lead to weight loss, negative results far outweigh any corrective or cosmetic benefits you may get.
Signs And Symptoms Of Diabulimia
Missing or reducing your insulin intake can be extremely harmful and dangerous for an individual who needs insulin injections to control sugar levels.
Short Term Effects
The short-term symptoms of diabulimia are:
- Frequent and excessive urination
- Frequent and excessive thirst
- Frequent and excessive hunger
- High blood glucose levels (often over 600 mg/dL or 33 mmol/L)
- Large amounts of glucose in the urine
- Inability to concentrate
- Electrolyte disturbance
- Severe ketonuria, and, in DKA, severe ketonemia
- Low sodium levels
Medium Term Effects
These are the medium-term symptoms of diabulimia. They are prevalent when diabulimia has not been treated and hence also include the short-term symptoms:
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- Muscle atrophy
- Severe weight loss
- Moderate to severe dehydration
- Oedema with fluid replacement
- High cholesterol
Long Term Effects
If a person with type 1 diabetes who has diabulimia suffers from the disease for more than a short time – usually due to alternating phases during which insulin is injected properly and relapses during which they have diabulimia—then the following longer-term symptoms can be expected:
- Severe kidney damage: high blood sugar can overwork the kidneys, eventually leading to kidney failure and the need for a kidney transplant
- Severe neuropathy (nerve damage to hands and feet)
- Extreme fatigue
- Oedema (during blood sugars controlled phases)
- Heart problems
- Retinal damage and subsequent vision problems
- High cholesterol
The most severe impacts of insulin injection rejection will lead to unconsciousness and death.
How To Diagnose Diabulimia
There are numerous ways of figuring out if a diabetic person you know is having diabulimia.
Signs of immediate need for insulin infusions or fingerpricks suggests that the diabetic person has stopped or reduced his or her insulin intake. Unfilled remedies, unexpected emotional weight loss, loss of vitality and spikes in their levels of haemoglobin A1c may indicate that insulin intake has either been stopped or dangerously reduced. Seek medical help immediately!
Treatment Of Diabulimia
Clearly, diabulimia is more of a psychological problem. There are no clear recommendations for diabetes care and diabulimia, but the traditional procedure for the treatment of two different diseases is a multidisciplinary team of clinicians which may include an endocrinologist, physician, psychologist, dietician, etc.
Treatment may require medical approaches that may involve controlling blood glucose levels and treating side effects related to insulin reintroduction and possible diabetes complications. In addition to medical supervision, concentrating on the thoughts and emotions relating to food and their bodies would be important for the person.
In general, Cognitive behavioural therapy ( CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) are common therapeutic methods for the prevention of eating disorders.
Dangers Of Diabulimia In Young People With Diabetes
People who are unfavourably affected by this condition, which has not yet been officially considered a clinical disease, purposely take much less insulin than their body requires, the intention is to lose the resulting rapid weight. The diabetic population is affected by the harsh desire to be slim especially the younger people. Their desire to look like their popular positive examples as portrayed in the media makes them neglect the need to regulate their diabetes, this often comes with catastrophic results in their general well-being.
This deliberate under-administration of insulin puts the body in a state of hunger, causing fat and muscle to break down into ketone bodies and ketoacids along these lines while leaving the body unable to manage them properly. Consequently, the sugars which were consumed are lost in the urine rather than acclimatized for health by the body, or set aside as fat. This would usually lead to significant weight loss but also puts the diabetic patient at tremendous risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, as well as an elevated risk of vision impairment, coronary heart disease, kidney and nerve damage and even death. All of these events can happen all of a sudden.
The point I’m trying to make is the need for individuals to be more conscious of the nature of diabulimia and the devastating impact it can have on the lives of those suffering from its adverse effects. The need for a person with diabetes to carefully monitor the glucose levels is important. Many sufferers with diabulimia consider themselves to be the disease’s biggest sufferers, and no one wants to help them anyway. That’s not true.
There are lots of people who care about you including me and that’s why I am bringing this information to you. Please stay alive!
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