Taking Diabetes Seriously

January 27th, 2012
Taking Diabetes Seriously

It is well known for those who are overweight that they are at risk of developing diabetes. However, the type of disorder normally diagnosed in obese people would be Type 2. As such, losing weight, regular exercise and eating a proper diet can help control the debilitating disease.

While similar precautions also apply to those suffering from Type 1 diabetes, one of the side effects of taking insulin is putting on weight.

For many people this can be something of a dilemma. It certainly was for one young lady, who unfortunately didn’t take her disorder seriously enough. When she went to university soon after being diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic, the student became more concerned with her weight rather than her medical problem. Consequently, she injected herself irregularly and didn’t stick to a proper regime.

This particular problem while rare is a growing trend; so much so it has now been given a name – diabulimia – an eating disorder associated with being diabetic.

In the young lady’s case her sister unfortunately had to cope with the aftermath. The couple went out for an evening’s entertainment when the student collapsed. In an interview afterwards to highlight the dangers of diabulimia her sister said: ‘We were out one night when she suddenly passed out.”

She added: “I called an ambulance and when she came round she admitted to me what she had been doing. She’d put on a stone-and-a-half since starting on insulin. She found the weight and having diabetes hard to deal with.

“I told her she would make herself ill — but she was young and not thinking about what her health when she was older.”

Unfortunately her sister was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 21.

The newly diagnosed disorder of diabulimia also highlights the long held belief that modern day society is putting too much pressure on young girls to look as thin as possible. However, while this is a major problem for normal healthy girls, for those with Type 1 diabetes the effects of this pressure are not only devastating but also are potentially life threatening.

Statistically, it is known that 1 in 3 women under 30 who are Type 1 diabetics deliberately miss their regular dosage of insulin. This is putting themselves at real risks. According to Cathy Moulton, clinical adviser for Diabetes UK, this is very serious indeed. She said: “A symptom of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes is weight loss — but once that person goes onto insulin they put on weight, and that can be hard to handle.”

The sister of the student was prompted by the death of her sister to try and advertise the dangers of diabulimia and to promote the idea of pancreas donor cards. “What happened to Yo makes me even more careful,” she says. “I eat well and exercise and never forget to inject myself.”

The young lady added: “I want to raise awareness of diabetes and the need for people to sign up for donor cards.”


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