Eating food is more than just getting full or to indulge. It nourishes the body and helps the body to become healthy so that a person can function well in their life. You would ask a doctor if you start to have problems with eating such as feeling nausea or wanting to vomit when looking at food or smell from food. However, one of the conditions that cause a person to have eating problems and may not be discussed much is diabulimia. In this article, we will learn about diabulimia.
Diabulimia is an eating disorder which occurs in those with type 1 diabetes. Speaking of diabetes type 1, do you know what is the major difference between type 2 and type 2 diabetes? Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin whereas type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to utilise insulin or unable to produce enough insulin for the body. Another key difference is type 1 diabetes typically occurs in children whereas type 2 diabetes usually in older adults.
Back to our topic diabulimia, as the name implies, is the eating disorder which is portrayed in those with type 1 diabetes that cut back on insulin to lose weight. Reasons being why diabulimia is classified as an eating disorder is because their behaviour is more than just reducing or stopping their insulin. They tend to show behaviour of many other eating disorders such as eating very less food, over-exercising, laxative usage and binge eating. Do take note that some with diabulimia may not reduce or stop their insulin but they tend to do things such as over-exercise or food restriction that can limit the amount of insulin required.
Diabulimia is the other terms used to describe type 1 with disordered eating (T1DE). It is estimated that up to 30% of people with type 1 diabetes do have an eating disorder. Furthermore, those with type 1 diabetes are twice as common than people without the condition to have an eating disorder. This issue can start at any age and at any point after they are diagnosed with diabetes. This kind of eating disorder started off when there is deep thinking with body issues or a strong urge for weight loss. In some cases, it begins as diabetes burnout. Diabetes burnout is a term describing the frustration or overwhelm with their diabetes condition. People with diabetes burnout often show ignorance towards their blood sugar level.
In general, a person often loses weight when they are first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Thus, when they start to receive insulin as treatment, patients will start to have added weight back. Some of these patients may find this situation of putting on weight is difficult to cope with and will start to skip the insulin. The issue with insulin is, when it is not given to patients with type 1 diabetes, the blood sugar levels escalate rapidly. This will then lead to a spike of blood sugar known as hyperglycaemia.
The issue with hyperglycemia is it can lead to life-threatening events. The most serious problems that could arise and can be scary is diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis will cause the body to breakdown fat to make up for the inadequate insulin. This itself will then lead to accumulation of ketones in the blood system. Ketones are considered as poison in the body and cause blood to become acidic. Eventually, it will cause organ damages such as brain swelling and kidney damages that can be fatal.
Thus, diabulimia should not be a small matter as the condition itself is described as the world’s most dangerous eating disorder. Despite diabulimia being proven to be life-threatening and statistics has shown that the number of cases is quite high, there is still lack of research to support people with this condition.
Now, what can people do about this? First and foremost, those with diabetes need to get all the help they need. Educating themselves is the best way to know what help they can ask from their healthcare provider. Second, patients should discuss the issue of diabulimia with friends or trusted persons. At the very least, people who care for them can try to keep them company and support them to have the courage to discuss with their doctor. Last but not least, patients need to get advice and treatment from their doctor. They need to keep an open mind and be honest with their healthcare provider.
In essence, diabulimia is an eating disorder that is common in those with type 1 diabetes. Eating disorders cannot be left untreated due to the tendency that it can lead to dangerous complications. Eating disorders are not only part of mental health issues, it also greatly affects patient’s physical health. Patients need to get all the support they need from people who they trust and those who work in the medical line.