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.
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.
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