Diabulimia is the combination of type 1 diabetes with the eating disorder bulimia.
People with type 1 diabetes have a defective pancreas that does not make insulin. And insulin is needed for glucose to enter the body’s cells for energy or storage.People with bulimia are overly concerned about their weight. They often eat to excess and then cause themselves to purge, usually by vomiting or taking laxatives, but some exercise to an excessive degree.
Combine these physical and psychological illnesses and you have a person that recognizes that by reducing or withholding insulin he or she can prevent their body from utilizing the glucose in the blood. Glucose cannot be used for energy or be converted and stored for future use as fat. This causes their body to use stored fat and protein for energy. In other words, insulin helps build more fat. Withholding insulin is a way of eating whatever you want but still losing weight.
Not getting enough insulin causes blood sugar levels to rise. A condition of high blood glucose levels is called hyperglycemia. Excess sugar (glucose) is secreted in the urine. Calories are in this way purged from the body.
Hyperglycemia is a dangerous condition that can result in permanent damage to the body. High glucose levels cause damage to small blood vessels and nerves. The damaged blood vessels affect organs such as the eye, heart, and kidneys. Nerve damage results in weakness, tingling, pain, and numbness in the feet and hands.
These conditions can worsen over time. Sight can deteriorate and become blurred or blindness can result. Heart disease and stroke are common in patients with diabetes. Kidneys can fail and require dialysis. Foot ulcers can become so bad a patient has to use a wheelchair and eventually amputation may be required.
The Dangers of Diabulimia
Gemma, Nabeelah and Becky are some of thousands of people who suffer from Diabulimia. Usual eating disorder treatment does not work, but medical experts hope to change that.
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this documentary, the these organizations within the UK may be able to help.
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The American Diabetes Association tells us that “girls and women with type 1 diabetes are twice as likely to develop an eating disorder as those without diabetes?” It’s not surprising that the death rate of those with type 1 diabetes is three times higher when an eating disorder is present.
My Diabetes Journey” JDRF video contest entry. A story of dance, Type 1 diabetes, eating disorders, diabulimia, and RECOVERY!
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