Type 1 Diabetic Teens at Risk for Rare Eating Disorder
Post Aug 22, 2012
Teenagers with type 1 diabetes can develop
"diabulimia," a dangerous and little-known eating disorder in which
they cut insulin use to lose weight.
Parents should inform a doctor if they have a diabetic adolescent
who inexplicably gains or loses weight and prefers to skip meals with
family members. This is the advice of Harald Tegtmeyer-Metzdorf, a
member of Germany's Professional Association of Children's and Young
Other worrying signs are not taking insulin in the presence of
others and preoccupation with one's body, weight and eating. Over
time, this behaviour can lead to premature complications of diabetes
such as blindness and shortened life expectancy.
"Young diabetes patients have to concern themselves more than
their peers with nutrition, weight and physical activity, and to
strictly observe their therapy plan," noted Tegtmeyer-Metzdorf.
"Many young people lose weight before being diagnosed with type 1
diabetes -- partly due to fluid loss -- and then gain weight at first
when their therapy begins."
This can lead to "weight phobia," he said. "Cutting back on
insulin, also known as insulin purging, often seems to them to be a
more successful way to shed pounds."
Doctors became aware of the eating disorder after noticing an
increasing number of diabetic adolescents, especially females, who
complained of stomach and nerve problems or frequent episodes of
ketoacidosis, a metabolic disorder characterized by excess acid in
body fluids. These complications normally occur in diabetics after
decades with the disease.
Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH