Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Insulin Manipulation - Diabulimia

I wrote a brief article a while back for a class at Western Kentucky and I wanted to share the information. It is something that families need to be aware of.

Think back to when your child was first diagnosed. He or she was probably suffering from ketoacidosas which produced weight loss along with other problems. Some teens intentionally induce ketoacidosas by withholding or drastically reducing their insulin therapy in order to lose weight.

Diabetic children and teens have to grow up much earlier than most of their peers. They face a life and death struggle on a daily basis. The fact that type 1 diabetics spend such a large part of their day worrying about what they are eating, carb counts, sugar content, exercise and the overall underlying stress that comes with this disease makes type 1 children and teens more likely to become victims of anorexia or bulimia.

One study, conducted at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, showed that eating disorders are twice as likely to occur in teenage girls with type 1 diabetes versus girls who do not suffer from the disease (Manazella, 2007).

Parents, caregivers and friends need to be aware that cutting back on insulin will cause a diabetic to lose weight. This seems like a fast way to drop a few pounds; however the long term affects are devastating. The most common damage is done to the eyes; a condition known as diabetic retinopathy which is damage to the blood vessels in the eyes (Barrett, 2006).


• Poor blood sugar control, extremely high readings consistently.

• Consistent hyperglycemia: excessive thirst, frequent urination.

• Obsessed or preoccupied with appearance (weight)& food intake.

• Moodiness and constantly criticizing oneself.


Among the many and complex feeling that parents and families of diabetics endure is the feeling of helplessness in the face of this disease. Having a diabetic child who is now battling an eating disorder can seem insurmountable; but there are things you can do. (Manzella, 2007)

• Be aware that this disease exists and can become a problem very rapidly.

• If you suspect an eating disorder contact your doctor immediately.

• Seek professional help. Your diabetes caregiver will be able to direct you to the right people.

• Talk to your teen. Communication is your first, best weapon.

Teaching people with type 1 diabetes to develop a healthy relationship with food and insulin at an early age can help prevent them from practicing harmful behaviors such as insulin omission and restriction later on. . . Kids and families need to learn that food isn’t toxic. New England Journal of Medicine


All 4 My Gals said...

Hey Sheri, I am taking Emery in tomorrow to have her checked for diabetes. She is having major thirst and hunger issues, along with waking to urinate too much. I'll let you know, but could use your prayers. Much love, Nicole

The Turner's said...

Nicole, You definitely have my prayers - I'm just getting this (it's the 29th) so please let me know what's going on.

The Turner's said...

Nicole, You definitely have my prayers - I'm just getting this (it's the 29th) so please let me know what's going on.