Type I diabetics are dependent on insulin to regulate their blood sugar. With proper control of insulin many of the serious long term complications of diabetes can be prevented. These include blindness, dialysis from renal failure, nerve damage and coronary artery disease. With so many potential serious bad outcomes, it is critical to keep the blood sugar in control.
Yet, diabetics, like others who do not have diabetes, are not immune to other diseases. In other words, just because you suffer from diabetes, doesn’t mean that you can’t have other problems. And one very serious condition is bulimia. Bulimics, who consider themselves overweight despite often being normal or too thin, will induce vomiting in order to conform to their belief of being overweight. These patients often cycle from too much eating to vomiting.
Diabetics, especially teenage diabetics, also suffer from bulimia. These patients have a condition which is called diabulimia. Given that teenagers often have problems with taking any medications, much less daily injections of insulin, this can be a serious even fatal condition. Lack of insulin causes weight loss, as sugar along with protein is excreted through the kidneys and out of the body. Diabulimics catch on real fast, that lowering or even skipping insulin will result in rapid weight loss. Problem is of course that along with the weight loss come serious conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis, which in turn leads to hospitalizations.
Managing the dual problems of diabetes and bulimia is difficult but not impossible. There are eating disorder physicians who specialize in treating patients with diabulimia. From February 7-9 the Eating Disorder Recovery Support Conference will take place here in Petaluma. Among the speakers is Dr. Bermudez, ( http://www.eatingrecoverycenter.com/) who specializes in treatment of diabulimia. Many of these patients will need intensive inpatient hospitalization. In the hospital the diabetes will be managed along with the eating disorder. Treatment takes time, as these patients have complex medical and psychological issues.
If you or a loved one suffer from this condition, consider attending this conference.