Honestly, when it comes to dealing with type 1 diabetes, eating disorders is not the first thing that comes to mind. As a type 1 diabetic, I was shocked when I first heard about the eating disorder (diabulimia) and its association with type 1 diabetics.
Most people are familiar with the more widely known eating disorders anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and even binge eating disorder, but few recognize the link between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and eating disorders (and yes, I was one of those people).
Curious about what this eating disorder was all about, and thanks to Amy (a frequent visitor of the website) and her sharing her empowering story about her personal battle with diabulimia, I decided to do a little research, so lets take a closer look!
Although not yet officially recognized as a medical condition, diabulimia is nevertheless a serious and emerging problem. Experts predict that as many as one-third of young female diabetics could be suffering as a result of this condition. Diabulimia is an eating disorder in which people with type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need for the purpose of weight loss. When insulin is omitted, calories are purged through the loss of glucose in the urine. Individuals with diabulimia manipulate insulin as an inappropriate behavior to prevent weight gain.
How Does Diabulimia Effect The Body:
The side effects of manipulating and omitting insulin from the body can be serious and dangerous.
Blood sugar levels can surge and reach an unhealthy level, leading to fatigue, dehydration and eventually wearing of the muscle tissue. Over a long-term, the symptoms are the same as badly managed diabetes. Although diabulimia is not a new condition, medical and mental health professionals are becoming more aware of the symptoms of diabulimia. The following are a few of the warning signs that an individual with diabetes may also be developing an eating disorder:
- Changes in eating habits (e.g., eating more but still losing weight)
Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Poor metabolic control despite the appearance of compliance
- Low self-esteem or preoccupation with body image, weight or food intake
- Frequent urination, excessive thirst or high blood sugar levels
- Low energy, fatigue, shakiness, irritability, confusion, anxiety or fainting
- Purging behaviors (e.g., excessive exercise or the use of laxatives)
- Discomfort with eating or taking insulin in front of other people
- Hoarding food
- Unwillingness to follow through with medical appointments
- Recurrent diabetic ketoacidosis
Some consider vitamin E a wonder supplements for its ability to neutralize free radicals, and to help with blood clotting, but what other benefits can it provide? How much should I take on a given day? Does vitamin E really have all the cashe’ that medical professionals claim? All great questions, so lets take a look!
Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage. It also contributes to a healthy circulatory system and aids in proper blood clotting and improves wound healing. Some studies have shown that vitamin E decreases symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and certain types of breast disease.
The best way to get the daily requirement of is by eating quality food sources. Below is a short list of foods where this powerful antioxidant can be found:
- Vegetable oils (such as wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils)
- Nuts (such as almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts/filberts)
- Seeds (such as sunflower seeds)
- Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and broccoli)
- Fortified breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarine, and spreads. Fortified means that vitamins have been added to the food. Check the Nutrition Fact Panel on the food label.
Products made from these foods, such as margarine, also contain vitamin E.