Eating Disorders & Insulin-Skipping Can Threaten Your Life
July 28, 2009
By: Laura Leon for Diabetes1
The sudden deaths of several young diabetics, who had deliberately deprived themselves of insulin as an “easy” way to lose weight, is a serious wake-up call for those who don’t grasp the dangers of ignoring your diabetes medication.
The American Diabetes Association lists the following tips for losing weight without skipping your insulin:
Practice "portion control" by eating smaller portions to reduce your calorie intake without sacrificing your favorite foods.
Exercise to improve your body's response to insulin and naturally help lower your glucose by burning calories.
If diet control and exercise are not enough, ask your doctor about weight loss medication or surgery.
Warning signs of diabulimia include:
Preoccupation with weight
No monthly period
Elevated A1C values
Repeated diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
Intentionally skipping insulin medication is a life-threatening behavior, often referred to as “diabulimia.” This issue is becoming increasingly prevalent as more patients admit to deliberately starving themselves of insulin. According to a study done by the Joslin Diabetes Center, a startling 30 percent of the 234 women with Type 1 diabetes who participated claimed they had, at some point in their lives, consciously taken less insulin than they needed. Patients who did not skip insulin medication could expect to live 13 years longer on average in comparison to diabetics who failed to receive the proper dosages of insulin.
Without sufficient insulin, the body cannot make use of the nutrients found within food. These nutrients will simply pass out of the body, resulting in frequent urination that is darker in color, due to overworked kidneys attempting to rid the body of excess sugar in the bloodstream. The symptoms of diabulimia occur when any person with diabetes does not receive the appropriate amount of insulin. Lack of insulin can lead to serious problems, such as: nerve damage, heart damage, blindness, stomach damage, foot problems, kidney problems, infections, high A1C levels, frequent episodes of DKA, dangerously acidic blood, and even early death.
Until there are advanced technological devices to monitor blood sugar levels and automatically provide optimal dosages of insulin, patients with diabetes need to be attentive to their insulin intake. Being mindful of your insulin levels is the key in keeping healthy and avoiding future complications.
If any of your loved ones exhibits any of signs of diabulimia, consult a physician immediately.
Do you know the annual cost of managing your diabetes? Would you like to find ways to reduce your costs? Calculate your total budget and identify ways to save money. You can do this in just a few minutes by entering facts about the products you use. This quick analysis will provide you with a comprehensive overview of both spending and potential savings.
Blood glucose monitors offer an easy way to test your blood sugar at home or on the go. Use this comparison tool as a guide to learn more about the features and benefits of your current monitor or to find a new one.
Ever wonder if you are at a healthy weight? Then enter your height and weight in our advanced Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. This tool provides you with two important numbers reflecting the estimated impact of your present body weight and shape upon your overall health.